Salem resident Shane Franks said he grew up in the city parks system - now he'll serve the city parks and the Memorial Building as recreation supervisor.
The Salem Parks Commission named Franks to the position Wednesday night, nearly eight months after the retirement of former recreation supervisor Dolores Rogucki. Part of the holdup was the effort to increase the starting wage for the full-time job, which would have been less than what a lifeguard makes.
City Council approved an ordinance earlier this month to increase the starting wage to $10.87 per hour, with step 2 at $11.30 an hour and step 3 at $11.63 per hour. Without the increase, anyone stepping into the position would have reverted to step one of the pay scale, which had been set at $7.87 per hour.
Franks had been working as a Youth Leader 3 at the Louis Tobin Attention Center in Lisbon working with troubled youth. A lifelong resident of Salem and a Salem High School Class of 1973 graduate, he has an associate's degree in forestry and an associate's degree in general studies, with coursework in criminal justice.
He said he's excited and looking forward to working with Memorial Building board members and the park commissioners and everyone in the parks and recreation department. As a child, he said he was grateful to have the park facilities available to him.
"I think he's going to be a good team player and a supervisor and leader in his own right," board member Terry Hoopes said. Hoopes interviewed the candidates for the job and said they had over a dozen applicants and one seemed to be the best
fit, referring to Franks. He praised his background in real life events and his experience in working with a variety of age groups, saying he'll be a fine fit.
Chairman John Panezott also talked about Franks' experience in working with juveniles and how the Memorial Building and parks department deal with a lot of community service workers. He said he might be able to talk with them and give them some guidance.
Franks' first day will be Feb. 4 and his hours will be noon to 9 p.m., which is a change for the job. Hoopes said they want to keep their existing programs and expand with some new ones, with a variety of ideas being kicked around.
He also thanked Parks Director Steve Faber for handling the extra duties of recreational supervisor in the interim, saying he's "the epitome of service to others." Faber in turn thanked workers Amber Goodman and Jill Moore for assisting him in the work.
In other business, the commission gave permission for the use of Waterworth Memorial Park softball fields, restrooms and concession areas for the hosting of an ASA Girls Fast Pitch Softball Tournament on June 28, 29 and 30. David Janofa made the request in writing on behalf of the Streaks, a traveling softball organization that has four teams with an estimated 60 female student athletes from Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
Security will be provided by the Streaks organization, along with cleanup and all costs associated with the tournament. As part of the deal, the Streaks offered to provide a $500 donation to the Memorial Building for future expenses related to youth recreational programs for the Salem community.
Faber said they've been wanting to have tournaments at the park.
Parks Foreman Jim Grimm reported on the work he and his crew have been doing in the winter, trimming low branches and dead wood, repair work on a pavilion and equipment, staking out spots for trees donated by the Salem Shade Tree Commission and preparing plants in the greenhouse for spring planting. So far, he said they've chipped 123 Christmas trees. They've also worked on snow removal from parking lots and sidewalks at the parks and the Memorial Building and also help out the city, too.
The commission approved $2,661 in expenses for January. The next meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Feb. 27.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org