LORAIN — The man responsible for overseeing Lorain’s roads, parks and city equipment is leaving.
Public Property Manager Hal Kendrick said Tuesday he is scheduled to become Cuyahoga Falls Schools’ director of operations May 27.
“Lorain is a great place to work. They’re doing great things,” he said. “I was glad to be a part of it, but I just have to move on because I’ve got another opportunity.”
Kendrick, hired in October 2012, will spend less than two years in Lorain, but Mayor Chase Ritenauer said he’s had a big impact, despite having to overcome daunting challenges.
Kendrick succeeded Streets Commissioner Chuck Camera, who was fired in April 2012 after being convicted of records tampering and theft in his position as Lorain Youth Baseball president.
Ritenauer created a new title and job description for Kendrick, who manages about 38 employees and oversees the building and maintenance, cemetery, fleet maintenance, parks and recreation, streets and traffic divisions.
Kendrick inherited a city with aging equipment, notoriously bumpy roads and a decrepit City Garage and Street Department building. Passage of a street levy in 2012 and capital improvement money helped, but Ritenauer also credited Kendrick’s no-nonsense style and varied background.
The 49-year-old Kendrick’s previous jobs include senior technician with Elyria from 1989 to 1994, Westlake Schools’ technology coordinator from 1998 to 2006 and Amherst Schools’ building and grounds coordinator from 2006 until coming to Lorain.
Kendrick also was a combat engineer in 37th Infantry Division of the Ohio Army National Guard until retiring in 2013. His duties included overseeing flood relief in Ohio, road construction in Honduras and Jamaica, and logistics in Iraq.
“All those positions prepared me to manage and lead people,” Kendrick said.
Ritenauer said Kendrick has brought a methodological approach to a demanding job.
“If it’s not snow-plowing season, it’s tall grass season. If it’s not tall grass season, it’s pothole season,” he said. “There’s no light season. You’re stepping into a tough environment, no matter what.”
Kendrick credited the City Council and taxpayers for providing money for garage repairs and new equipment. It included a DuraPatcher for pothole repairs, an excavator, grader, snowplows and trucks.
Kendrick, who redesigned Lorain’s plowing routes along with Street Superintendent Lori Garcia, praised Garcia and the other workers he supervises.
“They’re doing great work,” he said.
Kendrick, who earns about $78,000 annually, said he will receive a raise in his new job. Ritenauer, who said Garcia, Chief of Staff Derek Feuerstein and Safety/Service Director Robert Fowler will share Kendrick’s duties until a replacement is hired, said it is tough for Lorain to compete with surrounding communities that can pay more.
“It’s a real problem,” he said. “People who do their job well are going to be in demand.”