Pamela J. Miller | The Gazette
MEDINA — Mayor Dennis Hanwell didn’t have to look far to find a new parks director for the city.
Jansen Wehrley, 29, was appointed to head the department after working nearly six years as the city forester.
He replaces Tim Swanson, who resigned to become the deputy director of the Medina County Park District in September.
Like Wehrley, Swanson also had served as the forester before taking charge of the city’s parks.
“It goes hand-in-hand with my interest in trees,” Wehrley said. “Being in that position for five years has gotten me acclimated to the administration and the overall government processes. It’s put me in a good position to move forward with my career.”
Prior to working for the city full time, he had held a seasonal position while in school.
Wehrley is a 2003 graduate of Medina High School and has lived in the city most of his life. He also earned a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University and an associate’s degree in urban forestry and arboriculture from a technical college.
“I’m really excited because I’ve lived here practically my whole life,” he said. “I have a really strong passion for Medina and am active in the community.”
Wehrley formally was accepted to his new job by City Council during its organizational meeting Monday at City Hall.
Wehrley hopes to use that passion to find ways to improve what the city already is doing. He views the Parks Department as being three separate divisions — forestry, the cemetery and the parks — but plans to find ways to better unite them as a whole.
“My first goal is to tie up some of these open-ended projects, such as the building at the cemetery and the survey regarding the city pool,” Wehrley said. “We’re going to work together more as a team to utilize all of the different skills that the employees have to be more efficient.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the challenges.”
Hanwell said the Civil Service Commission is still working on Wehrley’s exact job description.
The mayor said cementing the three divisions under the new parks director is similar to the reorganization of the planning, economic development and building departments under the umbrella of the community development department a couple of years ago.
“This permits us to use staff interchangeably from all three for where needs are greatest on any given day. It should work well,” Hanwell said.
Contact reporter Pamela J. Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.