CARLISLE TWP. — Former Lorain County Metro Parks Director Dan Martin may be retired, but he continues to do work for the park district he led for 20 years.
Current Metro Parks Director James Ziemnik said he asked Martin, who stepped down at the end of March, to remain on the payroll so he could have access to his institutional memory and his expertise.
“This wasn’t Dan’s baby. This was my idea,” Ziemnik said. “It’s a great value to have access to him.”
Ziemnik also said that although Martin is paid $50 an hour for his services as a part-time park employee, he isn’t getting rich off the deal. He said Martin may work up to eight hours some weeks, but other weeks he doesn’t put in any time for the district.
Martin said he wasn’t really looking to remain on the district’s payroll when he announced his retirement last year. He estimates he averages between four and five hours of work per week, mostly dealing with wetlands mitigation projects that are paid for by developers.
Both Ziemnik and Martin said the former director isn’t calling the shots for the Metro Parks anymore.
“I’m a temporary employee trying not to do anything unless Jim needs me,” Martin said.
Martin, who earned $105,000 per year before he left, said he estimated he’s been paid between $4,000 and $5,000 by the district since his retirement. He said he likely won’t do the job forever and is exploring other options.
“I had a nice run, and I left on top,” Martin said. “I have no regrets. I think it was absolutely the right decision.”
Ziemnik said although Martin always took his calls, he didn’t even have a contract or begin getting paid for his expertise until he had been officially retired for 60 days. Doing so would have violated retirement rules under the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.
Ziemnik said Martin’s position isn’t the same as the double-dipping complaints that have surrounded the plan to return Ken Pearce, who retired as commissioner of the Lorain County General Health District on Aug. 31, to his old job two months after he stepped down.
The county Board of Health plans to take up the issue at its October meeting of whether to offer a contract to Pearce to serve as the agency’s temporary head until a permanent replacement can be found. A decision on whether to rehire Pearce had been expected at a meeting earlier this month, but that decision was tabled following a lengthy executive session.
“That’s apples and oranges, worlds apart,” Ziemnik said.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or email@example.com.