Mayor William J. Healy II said Warren Price will serve as the acting safety director, in addition to his roles as service director and chief of staff, “but not long term.” Healy said placing Price in the dual role is a trial run that will save the city money.
City Service Director Warren Price has been asked to temporarily take on the role of safety director after Thomas Ream announced plans to resign April 19.
Mayor William J. Healy II said Price will serve as the acting safety director, in addition to his roles as service director and chief of staff, “but not long term.” Healy said placing Price in the dual role is a trial run that will save the city money.
“At some point in the future we may separate them,” Healy said of the positions. “At this point in time we think we’ve got enough coverage.”
Healy said a contributing factor is that there are no contract negotiations at this time with any of the city’s labor unions. He would not say how long Price will remain in the acting director role and added that he has no one in mind to fill the position long term.
“It depends on how well things go,” he said. “It could be a longer period of time. It depends on if the workload and activities are too much.”
Healy also recently gave Mark Adams, the director of environmental health, the additional job of superintendent of sanitation. Smaller cities, including Massillon, combine the jobs of service and safety directors.
Price was hired in 2009 and earns $86,284 annually.
Ream, hired by Healy in August 2009, resigned a week ago upon Healy’s return from a 10-day trip to China. Healy was traveling with the Mayors Association of Portage, Summit and Stark Counties. Healy said he was surprised by Ream’s decision.
“I was not expecting him to resign at this point,” he said. “He (Ream) had told me he was going to do it as long as he was comfortable. I didn’t know how long he would stay.”
Ream could not be reached for comment. In his resignation letter, Ream said he looked forward to “starting a new chapter ... without full time employment.” He also noted that a leadership change would not negatively impact daily operations or the progress made.
The resignation came a month after Healy intervened in Ream’s hiring of a crime lab director. After questions arose about the qualifications of Ream’s choice, former Stark County Chief Deputy Sheriff Rick Perez, Healy asked for Perez’s resignation. Healy said that Ream had not handled the hiring appropriately, including not communicating to the crime lab’s funding board, the Stark Council of Governments, about his selection.
Asked about his relationship with Ream since the ordeal, Healy described it as “strong.” He then praised Ream for “calming the waters” in his nearly four years.
“We’ve got a great rapport,” he said of Ream. “He’s done a fabulous job for us. I was very pleased with him in that role.”