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Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Ostling fired as director

St. Marys

By Amy Kronenberger
ST. MARYS - Safety service director Eric Ostling was fired from his position Tuesday after only three months on the job.
Mayor Pat McGowan would not give a reason for Ostling's dismissal, only saying he wanted to go in another direction. Police chief Greg Foxhoven will serve as interim director until a new person can be hired.
The safety service director serves at the discretion of the mayor and oversees all city functions on a day-to-day basis. The person serves as zoning inspector and is responsible for the approval of all contracts, permits and purchase orders, according to the city's website. Other job duties include regular reports to the mayor and council members and recommendations on prospective legislation.
Foxhoven has been chief for nine years and served on the department for 22 years. He is not a professional engineer as the permanent director position requires, but "he's a well respected manager in the city," McGowan said.
Foxhoven will maintain his title of police chief, but sergeant Tim Eberly will serve as acting chief.
"I will still be the chief, but sergeant Eberly will take over all my duties, and I will move into the city office," Foxhoven said. "We're just trying to make it clear to everyone that I can't do both jobs at once."
Foxhoven said his main goal as interim director is "to survive." He hopes to keep the city moving forward and running smoothly until McGowan finds a replacement.
"Of course, this all came to light this morning," Foxhoven said Tuesday afternoon. "This has been a very whirlwind day. We're trying to make things as smooth as possible getting him (Eberly) in place while I transition to the city office ... I guess I really just want to keep things moving forward."
Foxhoven's weekly salary as police chief is $1,340.30, and his weekly stipend as director likely will be an additional $272.63 per week. Personnel director Sue Backs said the stipend needs to be approved by council before it's finalized. Ostling made $82,000 per year.
McGowan said he doesn't want to rush the process, so he'll wait a few weeks before advertising for the position.
"I think we're going to wait and let the dust settle," he said.
Ostling, formerly of Chesterfield, Mich., replaced former safety service director Jason Little who resigned Oct. 29 after seven months on the job. Little replaced Tom Hitchcock, who resigned the position at the end of 2011 to take over as safety service director in Celina.
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