by Kristin Casale

Reporter

Munroe Falls -- After more than a year without a service director, Mayor Frank Larson said he has begun searching for someone to fill the position.

Former Service Director Barry Walkenshaw vacated the job in February 2006, but Larson said he was reluctant to replace him. He said the department's day-to-day operations have run smoothly without a service director to oversee things.

But Larson said he believes a service director could benefit the city if his or her duties are expanded.

"I looked at different things that I could have a person in that position do besides being a [typical] service director," he said. "I'm looking for someone who can do some things like submitting applications for Issue I money and do economic development-type stuff and help with the marketing aspects of our town properties."

Issue I is a state grant program that provides funding to cities for service projects.

Larson said city officials are in the process of revitalizing the town center by trying to develop vacant land with retail and commercial businesses. The Kent State University Urban Design Center also recently completed a plan to develop the community.

City Council President Mike O'Donnell said he is pleased Larson is searching for a service director.

"I'm very encouraged," he said.

Council passed a motion several months ago urging Larson to search for a director to oversee the five-person service department.

O'Donell said he would like a service director in place to look at community planning, aside from handling the city's day-to-day maintenance.

Larson agreed.

"Just the service director aspect really doesn't require full time [work]," he said. "I can cost-justify it by including other areas [in the position]."

The new service director would receive an annual salary of approximately $60,000, according to Larson, who said he is not formally advertising the position, but he is accepting applications.

"It's just a word-of-mouth search," he said. "I've talked to some people that are interested."

Larson said there is no deadline to submit applications, and he does not have a timeline for when he would like a new service director in place.

"I'm more concerned about finding the right person for the position than getting a person in by a certain date," he said.

Those interested in applying for the service director job are directed to call Munroe Falls City Hall at 330-688-7491.

E-mail: kcasale@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-686-3917