Kent city engineer will serve as interim service director as well

Lindsay Wargo

The city of Kent named Gene Roberts interim service director last week.

The service director oversees all public works and improvements in the city, including the construction, improvement, repair and maintenance of streets, sidewalks, alleys, lanes and bridges.

Roberts, who currently serves as the city engineer, will begin April 8, when current service director David Merleno leaves for a position with Berea, a city west of Cleveland.

“We’re certainly going to experience our loss of (Merleno),” said Bill Lillich, interim city manager. “Dave did a very good job for the city and represented the service department quite well.”

Lillich said the city appointed Roberts to the interim position because “he is real knowledgeable with the service department.” He said in the past, Roberts acted as service director when Merleno was out of town.

Roberts said he took the interim position because it’s in his job description that he will fill in as service director in the absence of one. He said he hasn’t given a lot of thought to permanently becoming service director.

Roberts will continue his work as city engineer while he holds the interim position, Lillich said.

“Given the quality of people that work for the city of Kent and the service department, I don’t anticipate any problems (holding both positions),” Roberts said.

The city is analyzing what its options are for filling the position, but no formal decision has been made, Lillich said.

Contact public affairs reporter Lindsay Wargo at [email protected].