October 30, 2014

Elyria
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City of Lorain human resources director resigns

LORAIN — Geoff Smith, Lorain’s human resources/risk management director, will resign June 14.

Smith

Smith

Smith, promoted when Mayor Chase Ritenauer took office in January 2012, said Monday that the departure will allow him to devote more time to his family’s Avon Lake-based law firm, Smith & Smith. Smith said a lawyer recently left the firm, which he and his father run. The firm has about five lawyers and five support staff.

Also, a lawyer recently left the separate firm that Smith has in Elyria, which will merge with the Avon Lake firm.

“It was just a good time that we join forces and work together,” Smith said of the merger.

Smith, who earns $75,000 annually, has extensive public sector experience. He was Avon Lake’s law director from 1994 until 2008 when he became assistant law director in Lorain for then-Mayor Tony Krasienko.

Smith, 54, said relations with Lorain’s municipal unions have improved since he began his latest job, which he credited to Lorain’s department heads. “If it wasn’t for all of them, it would’ve made my job much more difficult,” he said.

Besides union negotiations, Smith has been working on development of a wellness plan designed to improve the health of Lorain’s roughly 450 employees and reduce health-care costs. Smith said the unfinished plan may include a clinic at Mercy Regional Medical Center where workers could receive free doctor visits and inexpensive medicine.

Smith’s resignation was announced by Mayor Chase Ritenauer at Monday’s City Council meeting. Ritenauer said he worked well with Smith and understood the move. Ritenauer said he expects a replacement will be named later this month, and the departure may include minor restructuring within his administration.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.