Streetsboro -- Jennifer Esarey has been hired as the city's new finance director, succeeding Mitch Michalec, who was fired by the city Aug. 26, according to Mayor Glenn Broska.
Esarey begins her new job Sept. 23, he said. Her annual salary will be $77,418, according to Clay Morris, the city's director of human resources.
Esarey has served as Brooklyn's finance director since January 2012 and was University Heights' finance director from March 2010 to December 2011, according to those cities' websites.
Michalec had been Streetsboro's finance director since May 2012 when he took over for Ted Gordon, who resigned. Michalec started as Streetsboro's assistant finance director in July 2008.
Michalec could not be reached for comment.
Broska said Michalec was given a chance to stay with the city as assistant finance director but chose to pursue other options.
"I felt there just needed to be a change, and I thought Mitch would be a great man in a second position," Broska said. "I'm sorry he opted not to go that way. Ultimately, nobody was fully aware that Mr. Michalec would no longer remain with the city until late in the day Aug. 26 because he was offered the opportunity to remain with the city as the assistant finance director and turned that position down," Broska said.
He said he couldn't pass up the opportunity to hire Esarey, who he said is "highly educated in finance, accounting and economics and possesses municipal finance experience as a finance director."
"These credentials were too overwhelming to pass up, particularly in light of my concerns regarding the direction of the city's finance department over the last year," he said.
Esarey said providing efficiency and fiscal responsibility are her top priorities. Her immediate plans are to work on the temporary budget for 2014, manage the 2013 budget and review expenditures.
"Streetsboro is a growing, dynamic city," Esarey said. "I'm excited to work here."
Broska said during a discussion with Esarey before she was hired, she wanted to see some of the city's recent financial information.
"Within a couple days from when I saw her, she came back with a financial report that did me more good than any other financial report I had received from the finance department," Broska said. "It was clear, concise and helpful. I could see and gather all the information I needed to. [Her financial reports] will give us a clearer picture. She has that ability to do things like this. Our current financial reports are 70-80 pages long. She's going to be able to provide information in a way that everyone can understand easily."
Broska believes Esarey will be able to provide a clearer financial picture when Council begins discussing next year's budget.
"When we're looking at our budget for next year, she'll be able to provide a forecast that is based on her expertise," Broska said.
Broska touted her organizational ability, which he said was previously a weakness of the finance department.
Councilman Chuck Kocisko said Broska "was not happy with Mitch's performance."
"The mayor gave us his concerns," Kocisko said. "It was felt that Mitch wasn't doing the job."
Both the firing of Michalec and hiring of Esarey were approved 4-2 by Council, with Council President Tim Claypoole and Council member John Ruediger dissenting. Council Vice President Regis Faivre was absent.
Claypoole said he voted against Michalec's firing because "if he was going to be removed, there would be no continuity in the finance department."
Claypoole said he voted against the hiring of Esarey because he "was expected to confirm a finance director [without meeting her]."
"I didn't get a chance to meet Jennifer. She was not at the [Aug. 26] meeting. I was only given her resume at the meeting," Claypoole said. "I couldn't get a feel for it. I didn't feel comfortable approving someone I didn't get to meet."
Ruediger declined comment.
Broska said the majority of Council was "well aware of my concerns with the management of the finance department well before Aug. 26."
"Specifically, I spoke directly with the president of Council [Claypoole] and the chair [Julie Field] and co-chair [Bridget Pavlick] of the finance committee prior to making any personnel changes," Broska said.
Broska said Field and Pavlick also interviewed Esarey prior to the Aug. 26 meeting.
"Her working at two different municipalities and being familiar with the systems that we use and the way we do things here just seemed like a natural fit," he said.
She also enters her position as finance director with a bachelor of arts degree in business with an emphasis on finance and economics and an MBA degree in accounting.
"I am committed to compiling the best team of professionals to better serve our residents," Broska said. "I have to do what's best for the city, and what's best for the city is to have a change in leadership in the finance department."
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