CUYAHOGA FALLS — The city’s community development director, who helped usher in some of the city’s biggest recent development projects, resigned abruptly shortly after the new year.
Diane Sheridan, who has served in the appointed position since 2014, announced her resignation in a letter submitted to Mayor Don Walters on Jan. 4.
"I hereby submit my resignation from the city of Cuyahoga Falls, effective immediately," wrote Sheridan. "I wish the city of Cuyahoga Falls continued success."
Sheridan, who was paid $115,065 per year, did not give a reason for her resignation. A phone message left for her through the community development department was not returned by press time.
Walters announced Sheridan’s resignation during the city council meeting on Jan. 7. He added that Deputy Development Director Sara Leedham is serving as the interim community development director. Leedham was present at the meeting; Sheridan was not in attendance.
"Diane has worked in public service throughout her career serving the citizens of our region and I am grateful for her service to my administration, the residents, and business owners of Cuyahoga Falls," said Walters in a Jan. 8 email responding to questions about Sheridan’s resignation. "I wish her well in her future endeavors."
Walters did not respond by press time to a follow-up question asking why Sheridan resigned.
Sheridan started working for Cuyahoga Falls in January 2014 after serving as planning director for the city of Barberton since 2005. Sheridan was one of the four cabinet members appointed by Walters after he defeated longtime Mayor Don Robart in the November 2013 election. Sheridan replaced Susan Truby, who served as community development director with the Robart administration.
During Sheridan’s five years with the city, the Portage Crossing development on State Road opened, Menards set up shop on Graham Road and Front Street was reopened to vehicular traffic.
As community development director, she was responsible for recruiting new businesses to the city, negotiating agreements and implementing processes for developments and promoting the city with a "special focus" on the downtown and riverfront areas, according to the job description on file with the human resources department. The Community Development Department presently has eight full-time employees and one part-time worker.
A public records request for Sheridan’s personnel file yielded items such as her resignation letter, a letter offering her the job, and a two-page document entitled "personnel action form" that included information such as her date of hire, pay rate, job title and job classification. The file did not include a resume or an initial application for the job. Law Director Russ Balthis said Sheridan’s file — which was not completely available at press time — did not contain any reprimands or other disciplinary items.
Walters said efforts are "underway" to find a replacement for Sheridan and said that once the prospective appointee is identified, council must approve the selection. The other executive positions that are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by council are finance director, law director, service director, fire chief and police chief.
Leedham, who is paid just over $90,000 per year, has served as the deputy director of community development since April 2014. Before coming to Cuyahoga Falls, Leedham worked as the director of administration for Summit County’s Department of Community and Economic Development.
Leedham earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Akron in 1996 and a master’s degree in public administration from Akron in 2001.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.