BPU debates filling director position

EAST LIVERPOOL – With Utilities Director Bob Disch set to retire, for the second time, on June 26, the Board of Public Utilities is considering how to go about replacing him after 35 years at the helm.

Disch had formerly served as the full-time director, retiring in 2009 and then returning to the position a short while later on a part-time basis. He submitted his resignation again at the board’s last meeting.

During this week’s meeting, Disch reported to the BPU that City Council had adopted an ordinance Monday night returning the director’s position to full time (effective June 27) but that he is still waiting a reply from the Civil Service Commission on whether the position can be filled by exceptional appointment or a competitive exam must be held.

He told the board the commission secretary advised his letter was received the day after commissioners had met, so the topic was not discussed. However, he said the secretary had spoken to commission members, who indicated they think an exceptional appointment is “the way to go.”

The commission will offer an official opinion after its next meeting, Disch said.

Chemist Tim Flores told the board he is in the process of getting his state certification in microbiology, which, once attained, will enable him to conduct testing in house instead of taking samples to Leetonia for testing.

Line foreman Harry Williamson reported on recently completed paving of excavation sites in city streets, with the board having hired a company to do the work this year.

He said the work started last Friday and was completed Monday, and Disch said the company had done a “good job.” Williamson said about 75 holes still need filled but that a full crew of workers is needed and that “injuries have sucked us dry.”

Williamson reported the intersection of Walnut and Sixth streets will be blocked May 3 while a 10-inch valve is replaced.

Board member Sara Davis presented for consideration a policy regarding public comment, saying people who wish to speak to the board should stop in the office 48 hours before the meeting to let their intention be known and also, speakers should be limited to five minutes.

Disch said he has submitted a copy of the proposed policy to the law director for review. The board took no action on the recommendation.