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TALLMADGE -- Two long-time city employees have announced their intention to retire: Service Director Bryan Esler and Community Development Manager Pat Sauner.
Esler's last day, after 37 years service, will be April 28, while Sauner's will be May 31, after 32 years.
"I'm happy for them, but sad for the city," Mayor Dave Kline said; at press time, Kline reported he was already working "on finding the right person for each job." Both are mayoral appointments. "They [the positions] will not be advertised out in the public at this point," according to the mayor, who added, "I have a lot of feelers into a lot of different people."
Sauner's position is presently part-time and the mayor is proposing to make it full-time when Sauner's replacement is found. "We're expanding the job responsibilities as a communications person [as well] ," Kline said, adding, "I think we can do better at communication throughout the city."
Sauner was hired as an economic developer in a full-time capacity in 1985. He retired in 2010 when the city offered a him a buy-out package, then was rehired on a part-time basis for the same position, which underwent a name change. Sauner earns $33.59 per hour.
"I have enjoyed working for the city of Tallmadge and have found the people here to be extremely helpful and friendly," Sauner wrote in a letter to the mayor expressing his intention to retire. "I have appreciated the opportunity to work with you [Kline] as the service director and as the mayor of the city."
With just finishing touches remaining on the $4.5 million North Avenue reconstruction project, Esler is preparing to retire on Friday. Esler, who grew up in Springfield Township, was hired as an equipment operator in 1980. In 1995, he was named the city's first traffic technician. Three years later, he was promoted to assistant road superintendent, a position he held until 2007, when he became road superintendent. Kline tapped Esler to become service director in 2012. In that capacity, he oversees the street and utility departments, the cemetery, as well as zoning and recreation. Esler currently earns an annual salary of $82,430.40.
"I've been here for 37 years and you come to the point with the retirement system where what you would bring home on retirement is close to what you're actually bringing home working, so it gives you an opportunity to go do something else," Esler said. While he's had some offers, Esler said he's going to take some time to relax before deciding if he wants to pursue a part-time job. "That's on the back burner right now," he said, describing woodworking, hunting and fishing, and riding his motorcycle as higher priorities. Esler said he's also looking forward to doing some traveling, although he jokes, "My kids already have projects for me to do."
Being able to be work on projects that improve the community is satisfying, according to Esler. He said he also appreciates Mother Nature's parting gift of a mild winter. Overall, Esler said he's felt rewarded serving the residents of Tallmadge throughout his career.
"Tallmadge is a good place to work," Esler reported. "The people you work with are good, the citizens are great. It's a good town to be in and live in. It's home."
Twitter: @ EllinWalsh_RPC