Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
By William Kincaid
Celina hires park assistant for transition
  CELINA - Lori Schmitmeyer has been hired as a part-time city recreation assistant to help transition the upcoming departure of recreation director Jeff Fortkamp.
Safety service director Tom Hitchcock at Monday night's regular council meeting said Schmitmeyer, of Celina, was hired earlier this month.
"Among other things, she ran a very successful indoor soccer program at the former rec plex this past winter ... she's done very well with coordinating, getting coaches and refs," Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel said. "It seems to be a very good fit."
Councilman Jason King asked if the position was going to be redefined.
"We're breaking the position up between several different people at the moment," Hitchcock replied.  Celina Schools Board of Education recently hired Fortkamp to replace athletic director Bruce Boley.
"Jeff Fortkamp is training her right now (until) he leaves June 20," Hitchcock said.
Councilman Jeff Larmore said he has received phone calls about people concerned about the city's parks and recreation department, including who's going to take over.
"So we need to get that out there, let the public know what we're doing and where the direction is once you guys have that figured out," he said.
Fortkamp will help the department through its transition, Hazel insisted.
"We're not giving up the rec programs. Those are very important to Celina," the mayor said. "We are continuing to run those. We've got a multitude of great coaches and referees and helpers. We are continuing to forge ahead."
The parks and recreation director position last year was relegated from a salaried position to a full-time hourly position. The change in job description and pay was necessary to ensure wage equity and fairness across the board of all city positions, Hazel said at the time.
The move reduced Fortkamp's yearly salary from $59,000 to $23.98 per hour or $49,000.
The change in job description and pay came after council members requested the city's human resources consultant, Clemans-Nelson and Associates, review the job description. Consultants recommended the city change the position from salaried to hourly as it "no longer meets the Fair Labor Standard Act's requirements for an administrative exemption."
Hazel said the maintenance duties of the park department - mowing, field and parking lot upgrades, upkeep, etc. - were transferred to the public works department in 2009 so Fortkamp could concentrate on sports and activity programming.
Hazel on Monday night also announced two other personnel changes.
City electric lineman Mike Mertz recently became the electric distribution superintendent after Jeff Severns retired from the position at the end of May, according to Hazel.
"He's done a lot through his career ... we do appreciate what Mr. Severns has done," he said.
Hazel said Severns did a tremendous job over several years of updating and renewing the electrical distribution system, taking care of feeders and overseeing construction and remodeling of five substations.
"It's not just in Celina," the mayor said. "Our electric distribution system goes all the way out to (state Route) 49. It stops just shy of Rockford. It dips up into Auglaize County, into the Mendon side. It goes up (U.S.) 127 to (U.S) 33, so we have a very large distribution system for our electric and the reason we do is because we were there before the other companies were out there."
Hazel also noted that Shelly Morris was hired as the new pool manager after Mary Cisco resigned to pursue another job.
Bryson Pool did not open on Memorial Day as planned because of the departure of Cisco a few weeks before, Hazel said. It is now open to the public.
"Memorial Day was beautiful but we did not have the staff in there," he said.
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