Ironton fills spots on civil service board

Published 11:30 am Friday, February 20, 2009

Shala Scherer Black and John Smith were appointed Thursday night to the Ironton Civil Service Commission.

Black will replace Nick McMahon on the term that expires Dec. 31, 2010, and Smith will replace Joanne McCown, whose term ended Dec. 31 of last year. Both McMahon and McCown resigned last week. Both new members received unanimous votes.

City council also voted unanimously to appoint former Ironton finance director Kathy Elam as temporary clerk for the commission until that entity can meet and hire their own permanent clerk Elam will take the place of Pat Lambert, who also resigned last week.

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Black, who is retired, was a 36-year employee of the Social Security Administration.

“She has tremendous experience in administration and the processing of applications and she knows how to do things in an impartial and unbiased way,” councilman Kevin Waldo explained. “I think she will prove an asset in that fashion.”

Black said she saw the newspaper article in which city council members were soliciting new CSC membership and thought perhaps her duties as a federal employee might come in handy. She said she also had been interested in becoming more involved in the community since her retirement two years ago.

“I was involved in hiring panels before and thought I could provide good service to the community,” she said. “I think I can do a good job. I know they wanted some fresh people.”

Smith is the bailiff for Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper. He is also a retired Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper with more than 30 years experience in law enforcement. Waldo said that background as well as Smith’s character, will be huge assets to the city.

“John is one of the finest people I have ever met,” Waldo said. “And Shala is a fine person, too.”

Smith was not immediately available for comment.

The city had six applicants for the two available seats, something with which both Waldo and Mayor Rich Blankenship said they were pleased.

“I didn’t think we’d have but one or two people,” Waldo said. “And these were six good candidates.”

Black and Smith will join CSC member Dick Rice, who is ill.

Last week city council delayed reappointing McCown to a new term on the CSC, saying they wanted more information before taking action.

The next day McCown resigned, citing interference with her duties. Lambert and McMahon also resigned.

McMahon said after more than 15 years it was time to retire.