By Jeff Gallatin
Bay Village’s new service director got a cold baptism by fire the last few days.
Scott Thomas was formally approved as the new service director by Bay Village City Council at its Thursday meeting during a week when Bay and other cities battled winter weather conditions. Mayor Debbie Sutherland appointed him to the post after his predecessor, Dan Galli, notified the city he would not be returning to the job. Galli had been utilizing family leave time when Sutherland got Thomas to leave his job as the city of North Olmsted safety-service director in November to become assistant service director in Bay Village.
Sutherland noted Friday that Thomas was hired because she knew there was a good possibility Galli would not be returning to the job.
“We appreciate everything Dan did for us the last several years,” she said. “He notified me that he will be dealing with family health issues and will not be returning to the city. We’re fortunate that we were able to bring someone like Scott to learn about the city and then be able to step into the position right away.”
Sutherland cited Thomas’ skills as a director in North Olmsted and a 30-year police officer in Medina who was chief of detectives when he left that city to come to North Olmsted.
“Scott is a very intelligent, organized and innovative individual who has a great track record, and we’re glad to have him on board as a member of our team,” Sutherland said. “He’s already proven to be a great asset, and I’m sure he will continue to do so and work well with other people in the city.”
Sutherland said Thomas’ ideas and willingness to innovate is a major plus for the city.
“In these times of diminishing revenues for cities, you have to be innovative in looking for ways to contain costs while continuing to provide strong services for Bay Village,” she said, noting, for example, Bay Village’s decision to privatize its building department last year. “Scott will fit right into that model, and he’s already got some ideas and is working on more, which will aid the service department and the city overall.”
Thomas chuckled when asked Friday about becoming director in the midst of a series of winter storms.
“It certainly couldn’t have come at a worse time, could it? “ he said. “But we’re fortunate because I’d already found out we have a great group of employees in Bay Village, and they proved that again because they did a great job during the storms. I’m looking forward to working with them and others in the future.”
Dwight Clark, chairman of City Council’s Finance Committee, also praised Thomas.
“I only met him a few weeks ago, but he certainly seems to be a talented individual and we’re happy to have been able to bring someone in like that to the city.”
Thomas’ annual salary will be $85,746.