Goss Appointed Safety Director, Although Cost Questioned
Schonhut votes against filing position full-time
Police Chief Charles Goss was unanimously appointed Strongsville's first full-time safety director Tuesday.
The appointment, which starts Oct. 1, was not without controversy, though -- not because of Goss, but because of the cost of filling the long-vacant position.
"I think we need to be careful about how we're spending money," Ward 2 Councilman Matt Schonhut said. "Safety is important, but I believe in smaller government."
Schonhut cast the lone dissenting vote Tuesday on legislation that changes the qualifications for the safety director job. The changes indirectly make what has been considered a part-time position a full-time post, with a salary determined by the mayor and expected to be $90,000 a year.
However, Schonhut joined the rest of council in voting to appoint Goss to the position.
"After council decided to make the position full-time, I know he (Goss) is the best person for the job," Schonhut said.
Mayor Tom Perciak has said he does not want to lose Goss' experience and knowledge when the chief retires at the end of September.
Goss is being forced to retire this year because of a provision in the Public Employees Retirement System.
He told Strongsville Patch last week he will be able to help "with the succession of leadership in the (police and fire) departments" and act as a liaison between the departments and the mayor.
The safety director position was created in 1963, but has typically been left vacant and, by default, filled by the mayor.
It has been filled part-time over the years, most recently in 1987.
Council amended the qualifications for the job on Tuesday, mandating that the director have a bachelor's degree and at least 12 years of supervisory experience in public safety.
Schonhut said that while safety is a priority, Strongsville has had a hiring freeze to keep expenses down.
"As good as Charlie (Goss) is at what he does, I can't justify spending that kind of money," he said.