Once approved, a link to the official council minutes will be at the bottom.
June 30, 2016
St. Clairsville City Council met in Special Session in Council Chambers on Thursday, June 30, 2016 with the following present
Jim Weisgerber, Council President Terry Pugh, Mayor
Mark Bukmir, Council 3rd Ward Richard Myser, Law Director
Linda Jordan, Council-At-Large
Beth Oprisch, Council-At-Large
Jake Olsavsky, Council, 1st Ward
Frank Sabatino, Council 2nd Ward
Mike Smith, Council-At-Large
The meeting was called to order by Council President Jim Weisgerber
Mayor, Terry Pugh:
I want to thank everyone for coming tonight and I want to thank James Zucal who has been interviewed for the Service Director position. I have asked him since he is on top of the list if he would be willing to come down so Council could meet him. He can tell you about himself. I think everyone of you have his resume in front of you. Ask any questions. Just in a nut shell Jim does have experience. He was assistant Service Director at New Philadelphia for ten years and Service Director for eight years. He was caught in politics, a new Mayor came in and Jim along with some other people were not recommended for their positions. That in a nut shell is Jim Zucal.
First of all thank you for coming this evening and thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of the team here possibly at the City. I thank you for that, I feel privileged. I come from humble beginnings. I told the Mayor and I told Kathy that New Philly to me and St. Clairsville they feel the same. There is a lot of similarities there. My wife and I live in Uhrichsville. I was only recently married about four years ago. I grew up in New Philadelphia, my Dad still lives in the family home. He is 84 years old. The home has been in the family for over 100 years. My grandfather owned a tavern, my Mom worked for the County Auditor. My Grandfather and Father both retired from ODOT and spent most of their careers in Belmont County working for the State Highway. My family is all in New Philadelphia. I really never left there, I went to school at Kent State University, graduated in 1989 focused in the Geography Department and urban planning. I had a bachelors in Science and also worked in the Forestry Dept. and had a pre-Forestry Degree. I still love the outdoors. We have a family farm, I run cattle, make hay and do all of that on the side. I have a brother who is a City Councilman in New Philadelphia and a Brother-in-Law also. I have a Brother who is a Junior High School Principal. We are all New Philly people. I worked locally to put myself through school. While at Kent State I worked at UPS at night. I worked at several of the steel mills. After I graduated my first job was with the Tuscarawas County Auditor in the Real Estate Division. I also worked part time for a company that does aerial photography. While in the Engineers Office I started the GIS program for Tuscarawas County. I was asked to start a program for New Philly and eventually was asked to be the Assistant Service Director and eventually moved into the Service Director position. It was a great part of my life, I really enjoyed New Philly and to be truthful I thought I would always be there in that capacity. I worked for five different Mayors and five administrations. What happened was the Mayor resigned midterm, there was a new Mayor appointed and when he came onboard he said he would rather have a fresh start and brought in all new Administration not just me. That is kind of the quick run through of things. I am very familiar with St. Clairsville. I was here for the tree city program a few years back, I have been to football games, I come from a football family. My brothers all coached. I had a nephew on the Ohio State Championship team. I have a friend with me today that grew up in Bellaire. We have been to Mehlman’s Cafeteria many times. As I told the Mayor when you are in New Philly you kind of gravitate to the Canton-Akron area. It was a blessing when I was called in for an interview. It was enjoyable to drive by Tappan Lake that was a lot more fun than the week before when I drove to Barberton and got caught in traffic. I like the change of seasons, I am an outdoorsman I like to hunt and fish. I have a close family, I still care for my father. I lost my mother four years ago. He is still active and he said if I get the job he will come down and we can go to lunch. I really thank you and I will be glad to answer any questions. We did a lot of great things in New Philly in the last eight years. We widened a section of our Main Street that runs to I-77 it was the biggest project we have ever undertaken. We also put in the largest storm sewer project that was ever undertaken. We also did another storm sewer project in the NE part of the City and all were acquired through Public Works Grants or Application Regional Grants. I know the whole team at OMEGA and Greg Didonato who was the Director is from Dennison. We did a lot of great things, we actively pursued Menards. Menards is coming to New Philadelphia. That is the last thing I walked away from when I left. They are coming to an old Super Kmart that we had pushed legally to have taken down and finally got taken down. I am a very positive person a very upbeat person. I certainly come to work every day and do my job. If it would come to that point I would be proud to serve the City of St. Clairsville and I think I can make a big impact on the community.
Mike Smith: How are you with Grants? Jim Zucal: That was part of my everyday business. I worked closely with the Mayor’s but we talked about that in the interview and I really enjoyed the topics the Mayor shared. I am very familiar with that process. Finances were really tight in New Philly and we relied a lot on grants so we actively pursued them. OMEGA that works out of Cambridge I know all of those people so I met with them and I was the one who secured most of those grants for the City. We always did a CDBG grant every year. I am very comfortable doing grants. Beth Oprisch: In your cover letter you say that you managed five departments. Jim Zucal: Our biggest Department is General Service, we have our own Sanitation Department, Street Department, Water, Wastewater, Parks & Cemetery. Beth Oprisch: Would you talk a little bit about your management philosophy? Jim Zucal: I always had some really great people that worked for me or I felt like we always picked the right person. Typically the Department Heads came in to see me every single day. They usually contacted me before I contacted them. I let them do their job, I am really not a micromanager. If you need me please come see me. The best thing you can do is keep me informed. If there is a problem I want to know about it, I don’t want to hear it from somebody else. I want you to come to me first and we will work together as a team to get through it. But if you don’t come to me and you get in a jam shame on you. Let’s work it out ahead of time. Do the right thing, I always believe in doing the right thing. We had many conversations every day and a lot of decision making. My decision making was always as a team. I am always open to hear and I like to listen, I like their input and then we will decide as a group. Frank Sabatino: If the position comes through what would you do in your first seven days? Jim Zucal: I think I will do a lot of listening, but I openly would want to see how things operate and function and I consider myself to be a very good listener. I like to look and watch and listen and kind of see how things are going along. I would take it to the next level and ask a lot of questions. I will just take it one step at a time. I want to meet everybody and see how things are going. Frank Sabatino: How would you answer that might have been the New Philadelphia way but this is the St. Clairsville way. Jim Zucal: That is great I would openly want to hear the St. Clairsville way. The Mayor and I had a nice rapport when we were talking and I would want to hear about it. In New Philly when money got tight I was always able to work with Council. We had to change things and it wasn’t always popular. I have thick skin, I am not a trouble maker but I am not afraid of let’s get this done and I will be the leader. I don’t know the situation here but we made a lot of changes and we saved a lot of money. With our Council the first question was always can we get a grant for that? We worked through the tough times. Linda Jordan: I notice that you hold a CDL do you on occasion work in the field? Jim Zucal: No, That goes back in time, when I worked at UPS I had the CDL then and I used to run heavy equipment when I was younger and I always kept my CDL. I can run equipment, I still farm. Beth Oprisch: Mayor there isn’t a residency requirement is there? Mayor Pugh: No and it would be about the same distance that Dennis was going from Powhatan up here. Jim Zucal: I told the Mayor anything I need to be at I don’t have a problem. I will be there. Mark Bukmir: What experience do you have with the Police & Fire Unions? Jim Zucal: When I was on the team at New Philly we actually had the Police and Fire Unions and then we had two service unions. Our Safety Director in New Philly was a part time position. He was a retired Policeman, I was on the team so I sat in on all of their meetings and I sat in on a lot of negotiations with all the unions and as I told the Mayor I was the one who was there every day so all the Mayors depended on me. Typically I handled a lot of that on a periodic basis. All the years I was Assistant Service Director and Service Director I was involved in all of those processes. They are building a new Fire Station in New Philly. I had a good rapport with Police & Fire truthfully I probably spent more time with Fire than Police. Mark Bukmir: If you would be getting this position you know you are walking into a hornet’s nest. There is a lot of activity, a lot of new things going on. Are you comfortable with those types of activities, do you have experience with those? Jim Zucal: This skin is really thick. I have been through all of that, yes. I have always done what I felt was fair. I will support the Administration that is what I am part of. I will openly work with Council. I had to do some unpopular things. New Philly had layoffs about the time of the recession. My best asset as a public servant I know is I came from the real world. I worked with people who had a sense of entitlement and I would say hey guys or gals look at the big picture. I am a good leader. I pride myself on that. I feel like I saved New Philly. We did a lot of things to save money. We had a lot of competitive bidding with three quotes. I worked with the Unions. The Chiefs were really good with me, we sat down a lot and worked through a lot of things. We worked through scheduling issues, we did a lot of things. We had training problems, safety problems on the service side. Getting good people and keeping good people. We had a lot of issues we had to address but we worked through them all. I always try to be fair and open minded and be a good listener and make sure we make a good decision. Beth Oprisch: So if some City employees wanted to talk to you about some ideas they might have would you be willing to talk to them? Jim Zucal: Sure the question is did you talk to your boss first. I always told them to talk to their immediate supervisor first and if he was ok with it we would talk. Jim Weisgerber: In New Philly did you have a review process for your superintendents? Did the superintendents review their employees? Did you have some sort of check and balance and some sort of reviews? Jim Zucal: Yes, We have a Human Resource Person and she worked closely with me. We evaluated the supervisors and they evaluated their employees. It worked well that way. Richard Myser: Have you met our current Service Director? Jim Zucal: I met Dennis before at meetings but not here. Richard Myser: Dennis is a very capable person. He has been a capable Service Director for many years. Mark characterized you coming into a hornets next. I would characterize it as hopping on a train that has already left the station. There are a lot of things going on. Dennis juggles a lot of things at one time especially the St. Clair Commons. The reason I am mentioning this is we are hoping the transition is going to be one that may take some time we are hoping that Dennis will be around maybe as a consultant. Do you have any problem with working with him? You can learn an awful lot from Dennis. From my vantage point we have a very good team so we are looking for a team player to come in here and participate with the rest of the team. I assume you had a well-functioning team in New Philly also. Jim Zucal: We did, yes a very well-functioning team. I was proud to work there, my whole intention was to retire from there. The challenge of being a Service Director is not easy I am very aware of that. I am not afraid to take on challenges. I always come to work with a good attitude. It was very stressful going through the election knowing that I would not have a job if the one candidate won. I knew what the end was going to be but I never walked away, I stayed with it until the end. I really bring a lot of common sense and I am a very calm easy person and I want to be part of the team. I am not in that boat by myself. Beth Oprisch: The new Mayor came in January 1st did you choose to not look for a job for a while? Jim Zucal: I actually started looking right away. I had several interviews, I stuck with looking to find a job in public employment for my retirement. I like working in small cities. I was interviewed in the City of Barberton, Muskingum Watershed, I had several interviews there. It is not real good out there right now but my goal was to find something PERS related. If I didn’t and I had to get the CDL out and drive a truck I guess I would do that. I have enjoyed the time I spent with my Dad while I was looking. I really was looking for Service Director anything I was used to doing. Mark Bukmir: If you were fortunate enough to get this job I am a big believer in stability. Mr. Bigler was here for years with the previous Mayor and he had experience with Mayor Pugh. I think that benefits the City as a whole. Don’t take this wrong but are you content to work in little St. Clairsville and say Canton would come to you and ask if you would be interested in coming to Canton? This has happened in Steubenville. They have had a real fiasco with City Managers. Jim Zucal: My intention is to stay somewhere. I still have a lot of time. Actually I am much younger than I look. I also believe in stability. I feel privileged and honored, when I did my Ohio means jobs searches I would search Cambridge, Cadiz, and St. Clairsville I wanted to have something that felt like New Philly to me. I had 34 years in New Philly I didn’t intend to go anywhere. Richard Myser: Would you at some time consider relocating? Jim Zucal: The Mayor asked me that question and I would at some point my Dad is 84 and he lives alone and he needs a lot of care and my wife her mom is living alone and just got over a bout with cancer so the point is we are both caring for a parent. Yes at some point I would consider that. It seems so close. From my house it is 40 miles. Jim Weisgerber: It seems like you have answered everyone’s questions. Jim Zucal: I really thank you so much for taking the time out of your evening to come here and I assure you if I have the opportunity I will serve the City Administration and Council and I will serve them well. I lead by example, I keep my properties clean. I keep my vehicles clean, I keep my farms clean. I like the community, it is beautiful when you go downtown with the hanging baskets all of that is awesome. I love the trees, I was a big part of the Tree City program. Thank You. Beth Oprisch: Thank You we appreciate your time.
A motion was made by Linda Jordan and seconded by Beth Oprisch to meet in Executive Session per Ohio Revised Code Section 121.22 (G) (1) Appointment of an Employee
Roll Call Vote:
Bukmir Yes Sabatino Yes
Jordan Yes Smith Yes
Roll Call Vote: Six (6) Yes Zero (0) No. Motion Carried
A motion was made by Beth Oprisch and seconded by Linda Jordan to return to regular session.
Roll Call Vote:
Bukmir Yes Sabatino Yes
Jordan Yes Smith Yes
Roll Call Vote: Six (6) Yes Zero (0) No. Motion Carried
There being no other business to come before Council a motion to adjourn was made by Jake Olsavsky and seconded by Beth Oprisch.