A new management team will soon be in command at Meadville Area Recreation Complex, but no one is going to have to show them where to park or how to unlock the front doors.
During their recent monthly meeting, members of Meadville Area Recreation Authority agreed to a major restructuring of the organization, eliminating the title of executive director with the Aug. 31 retirement of Mike Fisher, who has held the position since 1991, and creating two new job titles, Operations Manager and Facility Manager.
The authority also agreed to create job descriptions for the newly-created titles by combining the duties now performed by Fisher, Assistant Director Chris Nuzback and Maintenance Supervisor Nick Mauceri by an 8-0 vote with four members of the 12-member authority absent.
Nuzback was named operations manager and Mauceri was named facility manager. Nuzback and Mauceri will take their new positions Sept. 1.
As for what the future may hold, “Nothing is sacred,” Chairman Joe McDougal said. “We felt it necessary to rethink ourselves. We’ll look at what we’ll need to move forward — the board will be involved more as we move along.”
Vice Chairman Roger Gildea agreed, noting that the change is part of the authority’s effort to restructure itself from school district-funded to community-funded. The authority, he added, will step up its efforts to partner with various community-based organizations and businesses.
According to McDougal, salaries for the two new positions have not yet been established.
“We have some guidelines and now we’ll sit down and discuss it,” he said. “Any increase will be minimal, but we are asking them to assume some additional responsibility.”
Board members voting in favor of the change were McDougal, Secretary John Ziegler, Treasurer Donna Cessna and Jon DeArment, all representing the City of Meadville; Gildea and Dick Astor, representing Vernon Township; and Paul Oyler and Phil Passilla, representing West Mead Township. DeArment was recently appointed by Meadville City Council to represent Crawford Central School Board.
David Boughton and Perry Douglass, representing the city; Jay Verno, representing Vernon Township; and Gene Wisinski, representing West Mead Township, were absent.
“It makes a lot of sense for where we are today,” said Doug Lang, organizer of the Community Action Team, a group assembled to re-establish a working relationship between the authority, the school district and the surrounding community. Relations had become frayed when the district announced that it would be withdrawing support that had totaled as much as $260,000 per year from the facility, which is adjacent to the complex that houses Meadville Area senior high and middle schools. Following ongoing discussions, some of the district’s contribution has been restored.
“We don’t make decisions for or with the MARC,” Lang said, “but from our outside perspective, this affords us at the MARC some time to spend developing a business model about what the facility will look like in the future. When that’s complete, opportunities to evolve the operation will become more apparent.”
Saluting Fisher for having put together a staff that will be able to step in upon his retirement, “For Mike to leave the opportunity for the board to do that work is admirable,” Lang said. “The fact that the MARC has such capable human resources available now affords the opportunity to let that opportunity, to let that evolution, happen and see what kind of skill sets are needed at the other end of that planning.”
A graduate of Meadville Area Senior High School, Nuzback has worked at the MARC for 29 years. It all started when she began bringing children enrolled in a daycare service she was operating in her home to the MARC.
Nuzback recalled those days shortly after her appointment was announced. “The director saw how I worked with the kids and asked me to come to work here,” she said.
In 1991, when Fisher was hired, Nuzback was named assistant director, a position she has held ever since.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Mauceri was hired as MARC’s maintenance supervisor three years ago, leaving Gould Electronics in Cleveland, where he had been promoted from line operator to shift supervisor during the course of a career spanning more than 12 years.
As for what brought him to Meadville, the answer was simple. “I met my wife at Conneaut Lake Park,” he recalled. “We both worked summers there — and we met, fell in love and got married.” Their first kiss, he added, was at The Beach Club.
Browns-vs.-Steelers issues notwithstanding, Mauceri and his wife, Susan, a Pittsburgh native, have been married 18 years.
“We both had close ties here and felt this is where we wanted to be,” he said.
Moving forward, both Nuzback and Mauceri are looking toward creating a bright future for the MARC.
“Working hand-in-hand with Christ has been fantastic — we’re a great team,” Mauceri said. “Moving forward will be very positive.”
“I’m excited about the new challenge — and excited to have the board’s confidence,” Nuzback said. “The board’s and the CAT’s plans for this facility are something I want to be part of.”
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.