The Summit County Children Services board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a new nine-month contract with the executive director of the agency and said it will launch a nationwide search for his replacement.
Executive Director John Saros has been planning to retire a second time.
He retired as head of Franklin County Children Services in January 2007, then joined Summit County Children Services in September of that year as its executive director after a 24-year absence from the agency.
Saros worked at the Summit County agency from 1977 to 1983 before becoming executive director of United Disability Services from 1983-1994. He then headed the child welfare agency in Franklin County.
His previous contract with Summit County ran from Oct. 1, 2010 through March 31, 2013.
“Technically it’s a new contract and not an extension because contracts can’t go more than three years and this one was already 2½ years old,” board Chairman Dan Bell said. “All the terms of the contract will stay the same.”
Saros’ last contract included a 5.8 percent raise. He is paid $145,000 to oversee an agency with a $52 million annual budget and about 350 employees.
Saros said he wants to see the agency through its transition of management.
“We want to try to make it as seamless as possible,” he said. “I can’t just walk away. This is part of my responsibility as an executive, to assist with succession planning.”
Bell said the board wants Saros to stay on the job to help with the transition.
“We are grateful for everything John has done for the agency. His leaving was inevitable,” Bell said.
He said Saros returned to the agency at a challenging time — three months before a levy would appear on the 2007 ballot — and his innovative programming helped the levy pass with more than 70 percent of voter support.
Bell said the board will select a firm to help in the search process. He hopes to have someone in place by the end of summer, or at least have a field of candidates to choose from and be able to extend an offer.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.