Humphrys named new Northfield Center Twp. administrator

Ken Lahmers
Correspondent
Helen Humphrys

NORTHFIELD CENTER – It didn’t take long for township trustees to pick a new part-time administrator, as Rich Reville and Russ Mazzola voted to hire a former Copley Township clerk/treasurer and trustee on Oct. 5.

Akron resident Helen Humphrys was selected from resumes received to serve in the post at a salary of $2,500 per month for up to 24 hours per week.

Reville did not indicate when Humphrys’ tenure officially will start, but he and Mazzola decided former administrator Steve Wright’s time in the post would end Oct. 5. Humphrys is subject to a one-year probationary period.

“I applied for the job as administrator because I believe I can bring my experience of 37 years in township government to Northfield Center in its time of need for a new administrator,” said Humphrys. “I believe my experience with several government agencies solidifies my abilities to administer and carry out Northfield Center Township’s policies.”

Trustees accepted Wright’s resignation at a special meeting Oct. 1. His final day on the job initially was scheduled to be Oct. 23. He has accepted a position as program manager II/customer experience lead with the Montgomery County, Md. Department of Health.

“We interviewed Helen last week, and she has a lot of experience,” said Reville. “She has connections with the county and knows how to get things done. She will be a great asset.”

The township plans to transition to the Uniform Accounting Network, and Reville said Humphrys has helped several townships with similar transitions. “She can help Andy [LaGuardia, the township’s fiscal officer] with the switchover,” he added.

A motion OK’d by Reville and Mazzola states that Wright’s health insurance coverage will continue through Oct. 31. Trustees also authorized paying him for unused vacation time totaling $1,032.

Reville said ending Wright’s employment early was done to allow for a smooth transition to the new administrator, and to allow Wright time to prepare for his move to Maryland. Reville thanked Wright for his service, and wished him well in his future endeavors.

Trustee Paul Buescher, who was absent from the meeting for health reasons, questioned his colleagues’ approval of the hiring.

“None of these decisions [about the hiring] were included in any agenda prior to the meeting,” he said. “I have no idea who came up with the resolutions or when or why. It’s apparent to me these decisions were made privately. This is totally underhanded. The whole situation stinks to high heaven.

“Although Steve’s resignation was effective Oct. 23, Reville and Mazzola suddenly and without any prior notification effectively fired him. They also hired Mrs. Humphrys while applications still were supposedly being solicited and accepted. What a farce.

“The people elected three trustees to the board, not two, and the board always must be transparent, not secretive. Unfortunately, this has not been the case for at least the past five months. This was graphically demonstrated at the [Oct. 5] meeting.”

Humphrys grew up in west Akron and graduated from Buchtel High School and the Ohio Township Leadership Academy. She has been a member of the Summit County Planning Commission since 1998.

She served as Copley Township’s clerk-treasurer from 1982 to 2004 and as clerk-coordinator from 1990 to 2000, then was elected to four terms as township trustee from 2004 to 2019. She also served as president of the Township Association of Summit County from 2004 to 2019, and was administrative assistant for Bath Township from 2001 to 2011.

From 2010 to 2019, she was an executive committee member of the Coalition of Large Ohio Urban Townships, which advocates for and distributes legislation and policy information to the eastern region townships in Ohio.

From 2013 to 2019, she was township director for the Summit County Land Bank, which oversees and approves the operations of the land bank. Since last December she has trained newly hired village and township fiscal officers in office reorganization and procedures, grant writing and 501(c)(3) applications.

She also has been actively involved with the Copley Historical Society, Copley Homeowners Association, Healthy Community/Healthy Youth of Copley-Fairlawn, Copley Community Improvement Corp., and is a life member of the Ohio PTA.

Her previous jobs were with Firestone Bank, Friendly’s restaurants (bookkeeper) and St. Thomas Hospital (records clerk).

Humphrys has three grown sons who graduated from Copley High School, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and is the Sunday School director at St. Joseph Church in Akron.

Wright began his tenure as administrator Nov. 19, 2018 after the May 30, 2018 death of former administrator Sam Ciocco.

“I’m proud of the work we have accomplished together [in Northfield Center],” said Wright. “The staff and trustees are dedicated to and passionate about their efforts undertaken on behalf of the township and its residents. I will miss many of the individuals I have worked and interacted with.”

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