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Former Falls official tapped as interim Norton administrator

2/6/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Valerie Wax Carr
NORTON — Valerie Wax Carr, who served as public service director in Cuyahoga Falls under longtime mayor Don Robart, has been hired as the administrative officer for the city of Norton on an interim basis.

Council approved Wax Carr’s hiring during a special meeting Feb. 3 by a vote of 6-0, with Councilman Scott Pelot (at large) excused.

Wax Carr, a Cuyahoga Falls resident, takes the place of Richard Ryland, who resigned from the administrator position in November. Mayor Mike Zita has filled the position since that time, as specified by the city’s charter.

Wax Carr served as service director in the Falls for 13 years. Robart lost his seat as mayor in the Nov. 5 General Election, and Wax Carr lost her job when new Mayor Don Walters hired a new cabinet.

Zita said he originally talked to Robart about possibly taking the job in Norton, but the former mayor was being considered for a job with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office and declined. He did, however, recommend Wax Carr.

“I asked for her résumé, had several phone conversations and actually met with her for several hours and spent time getting to know her, and decided she would be the candidate I would present to Council to fill the position,” Zita said.

Council met Wax Carr during an executive session Jan. 30 and spent about 90 minutes asking her questions, the mayor said.

Zita said Wax Carr’s hiring is for six months due to a residency requirement for the job as stated in the city’s charter.

“We can hire outside the city, but within six months they need to reside in the city and need to reside here for the length of their employment,” Zita said. “We will have upcoming discussion as to what we want to do with that, if it’s something we want to stick with or look at as a possible charter change.”

Zita said the residency requirement has presented a challenge in the search for a new administrative officer. In addition, the fact that the administrator serves as director of public safety, public service and personnel make it a tough position to fill.

According to Council Clerk Karla Richards, the position has an annual salary of $67,993.

Zita said Wax Carr is in the process of completing the city’s required testing before starting the job. He expects she will begin her duties in the next two weeks.

Wax Carr said she’s happy to take on the position and thinks she can be a positive force for the city.

“I was in Cuyahoga Falls the last 18 years — the last 13 years working as service director — so I’m very familiar with the public works side of things,” she said. “I think I’ll bring a new perspective, which may be good, being from a different community. I think I’m pretty good at organizing, so hopefully that will help them, as well. In some ways, maybe they are expecting miracles, but it’s going to take some time for me to get acclimated, and we want to set some priorities for what we want to focus on.”

Wax Carr said she has a bachelor’s degree in political science and English from Ohio Northern University and a master’s degree in public administration from Cleveland State University.

She added she would consider taking the position permanently, but she’s happy to see how the next six months work out.

“I want to get to know Norton, and I think Norton needs to get to know me,” she said. “I understand they want to test the waters, and I’m OK with that.”

“She’s a great fit for the community,” Zita said. “She’s definitely experienced and very professional. I feel the city has a lot to gain from having her working for us.”

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