City’s planning director resigns

EAST LIVERPOOL — The city’s director of planning, William Cowan, will be leaving his position after the first of the year.

Mayor Ryan Stovall announced at the city council meeting this week that he had received Cowan’s letter of resignation, effective Jan. 7.

In his letter, Cowan said it had been a pleasure serving the citizens of East Liverpool for more than 27 years and that he wishes for City Hall staff, “who have become like family,” and all city employees, continued success.

Cowan offered his assistance during the transition period.

Stovall said Cowan has accepted another job near the Columbus area, saying he is nearing retirement age and that, considering PERS benefits are based on a person’s best three years of salary and Cowan will be getting a “significant” wage increase, “I can’t blame him.”

Stovall said last week plans call for advertising for a replacement.

Legislation passed Monday night by council put into place a revised ordinance establishing wages and benefits for non-union employees, and one of those provisions was to split the director of planning/engineer position into two, creating a director of planning position.

The director of planning/engineer position pays $27.66 which Cowan is earning and the director of planning position will pay $23, with Stovall explaining the city hopes to find someone with the engineering certification but, if not, the new director of planning can then be hired at the lower rate.

Councilman Fred Rayl said it is difficult to see Cowan leave, saying he has been an asset to the city, especially in regard to the numerous grants he has been instrumental in securing.

Council also approved an ordinance correcting the hourly rate of the line foreman by $1.39 per hour after it was discovered he had been overpaid at that rate due to the above-mentioned wage and benefits ordinance containing a clause pertaining to wages based on hire date that was overlooked.

An ordinance authorizing the payment of vendors was also approved.

During miscellaneous comments, council members thanked the police for the arrest of vandals who spray painted numerous downtown buildings, including one of Councilman John Mercer’s houses, the community for its support of a benefit for police Chief John Lane’s family, the Beacon Association for Saturday night’s Christmas parade and all city workers for their efforts, with Councilman Jeff Kreefer summing up the comments by saying, “The city just keeps getting better and better.”