By Kevin Kelley
Mayor Eileen Patton has appointed Rob Berner, the former mayor of Avon Lake, as Fairview Park’s next director of service and economic development.
Berner succeeds Jim Kennedy, who is retiring at the end of the month after 17 years in the position.
City Council unanimously confirmed Patton’s appointment of Berner at Monday night’s regular meeting. Berner will join the Patton administration July 8.
Fairview Park is rare in that its city charter combines the leadership of the service and economic development departments in one position. Berner, who learned of the job from a mayors association website, said his skill set is a good match for those departments.
“The combination of the two different disciplines is what attracted me to the job,” Berner told West Life.
Currently the executive director of the Lorain County Rural Wastewater District, Berner said he does not have any particular agenda as he begins his new job.
“The first thing I’m going to do is learn the players and observe the operations the first month or six weeks,” he said.
Berner said he enjoys economic development work, which, he noted, not only increases revenue for the city but also serves the business community.
Berner said when he and Patton were both mayors, they were acquainted from serving together on the Fairview Hospital Community Advisory Board, but did not know each other particularly well.
A native and current resident of Avon Lake, Berner graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and received a master’s degree in public administration from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minn.
Berner won a special election to become Avon Lake mayor in 2001 after the previous mayor resigned. He was elected to a full term in 2003. He lost in a 2007 re-election bid and a 2011 campaign to regain the office. Berner also served as safety-service director of Port Clinton from 2008 to 2009.