Rick Merolla has been tabbed as chief of staff for Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic.
Merolla, the city’s service director, will assume the new title Saturday. He succeeds Dave Lieberth, who retires this month. Merolla’s salary of $122,865 remains unchanged.
“Rick has a breadth of knowledge not only with respect to city government, but of the city in general, and will do an excellent job as chief of staff,” Plusquellic said.
Several other position changes in the Plusquellic administration were announced Thursday.
Planning Director John Moore will assume Merolla’s service director’s position.
In a news release announcing the new appointments, Plusquellic said Merolla will continue to oversee the city’s work on its combined sewer overflows.
Moore will oversee the city’s Downtown Akron programs, including coordination of the Downtown Operations Group which deals with maintenance, security and programming. His salary also will remain at $122,865.
Plusquellic said he has often moved people to different positions in his cabinet.
“They are former civil servants,” he said in an interview during his return trip from Israel Thursday. “I trust them. That’s one of the reasons for success. They are professionals who grew up in the ranks.”
Plusquellic said he intends to soon announce Moore’s replacement as planning director.
Tish Jernigan will assume Lieberth’s work of managing and scheduling Akron’s Lock 3 and Lock 4 entertainment venues. Jernigan, who assisted in the design of the downtown venue in 2001 under Lieberth’s direction, will serve as acting manager of downtown operations.
Jernigan’s salary will be set after a review by the Civil Service Commission.
Elsewhere, Akron police Sgt. Richard Schmahl is the city’s new chief information officer. He will retire from the police force Saturday and assume his role. Plusquellic said Schmahl has worked as the police department’s information technology supervisor. He will earn $102,315.
“Rich Schmahl has been recognized by his peers as a leading expert in the application of technology to public safety,” Plusquellic said. “Now, we are asking him to take responsibility for overseeing the deployment of new technology throughout the city.”
Plusquellic said Schmahl will step into a position that has been vacant for more than three years.
Schmahl’s work will include supervising the city’s IT network, telephonic and radio systems, and the integration of all other city technology.