Melfi seeks to combine service and safety director positions

The safety director says he would welcome the new duties.
GIRARD -- In an effort to save money, Mayor James Melfi plans to ask council not to hire a service director but to instead combine that position with the safety director's.
Melfi said Tuesday that during next week's council meeting he will request that Jerry Lambert, the city safety director, assume the duties of the service departments.
The city's service director, Rex Funge, resigned last month. The service director is in charge of water, waste water, streets and cemeteries, Lambert said.
"The service director made about $34,000 a year and the safety director makes about $35,000, so I think we should just make that one position," Melfi said.
The mayor noted that a few years ago the positions were combined.
"I will also ask council to do some research on when those jobs were combined and find out how much the position paid, because since Jerry will be taking on more responsibility they may want to increase the salary," Melfi said.
Lambert said he would welcome the new duties and noted that he was service director for from August 2000 until March 2004.
"I'm very familiar with that job," Lambert said.
Melfi said by combining the two jobs the city will save money on wages and hospitalization.
"I am trimming everything I can," Melfi said.
Looking for relief
The mayor added that he is doing what he can to save money since the city is $1.4 million in debt and has been in fiscal emergency for the past three years.
Paul D. Marshall, from the state Office of Budget and Management, who chairs the state oversight commission, told the mayor last week that he wants a plan in place that shows when the city can get out of fiscal emergency. Marshall gave Melfi until the end of this month to have a plan.
"I'm working on it," Melfi said. "I'm doing what I can. I was here at 7:30 a.m. working on this."
The mayor said other cost-saving measures the city is doing are rescinding a contract with SBC for the removal of telephone poles, and asking a Trumbull County Common Pleas Court judge to approve transferring money given to the water department for the sale of timber and mineral rights to the general fund. He said these actions will help increase revenue to the general fund.
Melfi noted that the city is also considering closing its dispatching center and joining forces with Liberty Township.

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