Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings announced Friday that Safety and Service Director Mel McKenzie will be leaving his City of Hillsboro position for a new opportunity, and that Dick Donley will serve as an interim replacement.
McKenzie will leave as city at the end of this month to pursue and opportunity with a local firm involved in community development, Hastings said.
Donley will take over when McKenzie departs. He is a former longtime member of Hillsboro City Council, a former council president, and retired as a trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
“Donley is a well-respected member of the community and is very familiar with city matters and the works of city administration. He has agreed to serve in the safety and service director capacity until the end of Mayor Hasting’s term,” the city said in a news release.
The safety and service director is appointed by the mayor, and Hastings said he did not want to hire a new person with his second four-year term as mayor coming to a close at the end of this year.
“I didn’t want to go out and hire a new safety and service director because that would be unfair to him and the new mayor,” Hastings said. “I’m just happy because I think this is a win-win situation and makes for a smooth transition. Dick is well-known, local, has a lot of background with the city, and he stays up on things. I wanted stability and I think that’s what we’ll have.”
Donley said he believes the new position will be a challenge, but it’s one he’s looking forward to.
“I’ve lived in the city my whole life and I love the city,” Donley said. “I enjoyed the years I spent on city council trying to improve the city and its infrastructure, and I realized with this appointment I can put that experience to work and help the city move forward. I’ve tried to make decisions which were beneficial to everybody, and I hope I can continue to help in that capacity.”
McKenzie, who has been the Hillsboro safety and service director since May 31, 2017, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
“Mel has been a capable and valuable employee, and although I hate to see him go, I fully understand his need to accept a timely opportunity when it arises,” Hastings said. “I am also very pleased Dick has accepted to fill this position. His background and experience will ensure a seamless transition.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.