With a change of mayors, the new year is expected to bring a new administration into the city building in Washington. Mayor-elect Dave Rhoads has announced the appointees for his administration. The city leadership will include a number of familiar faces and a few new ones.
Rhoads will be stepping down as chief of the Washington Fire Department to take over as the new mayor. He has selected veteran fire-fighter Steven Walden to be his successor. Walden has 22 years on the department and is currently the battalion chief on the A-shift.
“He’s the one I felt would be the best to carry on as chief of the department,” said Rhoads.
Another new face running a department will be Randy Ennis who will be the head of the city’s electric utility. Ennis will be following Randy Emmons who will be retiring and moving into a position as a city councilman. Ennis has 17 years with the city, working his way up from an entry level position.
“I talked with Randy Emmons about the appointment,” said Rhoads. “Ennis was his recommendation and I agree he is a good choice to take over.”
The third change will be the city’s building commissioner. Rhoads has declined to retain Don Williams, who ran for mayor as a Republican before losing in the primary. The position instead will go to Jon Casper. Casper has more than 20 years of experience in construction and is currently employed at D.C. Metals and holds an Associate’s Degree from Vincennes University in building trades.
“I felt the city needed to take a change of direction in the building commissioner’s office,” said Rhoads. “He will have a lot to learn, but he is familiar with the everyday stuff. With his experience, I am hoping we can get that office moving in the right direction.”
Even with the change from a Republican to a Democrat administration those are all of the changes to the department head positions. Todd Church will remain as police chief, Stacie Anderson will head the utility billing office, and Bryan Sergesketter will be street and sanitation commissioner.
Charlie Kane will remain as water superintendent, Kip Kelley will stay as parks and recreation superintendent, Scott Rainey will continue as sewer superintendent, Beth Trousdale will once again head the animal control department and Michael Folsom will be the head of information technology.
“I am really trying to keep some continuity in these departments,” said Rhoads. “I am really comfortable with these department heads. They know their departments, and I feel I can fully trust them to do what is right for the city. As fire chief, I have worked with almost all of these people for a number of years and am quite familiar with them.”
Tim Dant will also be staying on as the city attorney.
“I talked with Tim and he said he would be glad to continue to serve as city attorney,” said Rhoads.
Rhoads will still have to appoint the two people he wants to serve on the city’s board of public works and safety. Currently the board consists of Republican Councilman at-large David Dahl and Rhoads’ opponent in the fall election, Diana Snyder. Rhoads says he has a couple of folks in mind but will have to wait until the first meeting in January to make those choices.
The chiefs and department heads are scheduled to be sworn-in during a special ceremony in the Washington City Council Chambers on Saturday, Dec. 28 at 1 p.m. Daviess Circuit Court Judge Greg Smith will be administering the oath of office.