Hillsboro safety and service director Mel McKenzie. (HCP Photos/Caitlin Forsha)
Hillsboro safety and service director Mel McKenzie. (HCP Photos/Caitlin Forsha)
Mel McKenzie will reportedly be stepping down as Hillsboro safety and service director, with longtime councilman Dick Donley being appointed as his replacement.

Highland County Republican Party Executive Chair Paulette Donley confirmed to The Highland County Press the appointment of Dick Donley as safety and service director. McKenzie will be leaving the city at the end of this month, and Donley has been tapped to fill the remainder of McKenzie’s term, as Hillsboro voters will elect a new mayor this November.

Calls and emails to the City of Hillsboro’s office and to McKenzie seeking comment were not returned. Mr. Donley was out of town and not available to comment as of 3:30 p.m. Friday.

According to Mrs. Donley, Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings said that McKenzie “was thinking about taking another job.”

“Dick was approached by Mayor Hastings very recently,” Mrs. Donley said. “He was told that Mel was thinking about taking another job and was asked, should that be the case, if would Dick consider filling out the rest of Mel’s term — that’s August 1 through December 31 — as safety director.

“Dick only had a short time to give it a lot of consideration, but I know he expressed to me that it is yet another way for him to contribute to the community, and he felt that this is something he could do and enjoy. He very much loves the city, so that’s where the path has taken us.”

Donley has served as a Hillsboro city council member, including being council president and president pro tempore, and also was a Republican Hillsboro mayoral candidate at one time. He was formerly an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper and a resource officer for Hillsboro City Schools.

“He should be able to step in with his past experience as a city councilman and as president of council at one time,” Mrs. Donley said. “He’s willing to do it and to fill in until our new mayor will be able to appoint his own.”

McKenzie, who formerly served as the GIS (Geographic Information Systems)-Map Office Manager for then-Highland County Engineer Dean Otworth’s office, began working as SSD on May 31, 2017.

Donley will mark the fourth official safety and service director and fifth overall of Hastings’ two terms as mayor.

Prior to McKenzie’s hire, Gary Silcott of Stantec, an engineering firm, was the interim safety and service director.

Safety and service director Todd Wilkin was appointed by Hastings in February 2013 and was terminated Nov. 22, 2016, less than two weeks after he testified against Hastings in Highland County Common Pleas Court.

Richard Giroux was appointed safety and service director in January 2012, at the start of Hastings’ first term as mayor. Giroux was terminated the following December after being convicted of operating a vehicle while impaired.