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Macedonia -- For years, Jim Crevar has had a dual role serving city residents, but has now cut it down to one.
After 15 years as the city's service director, Crevar retired at the end of December, but will remain as a part-time firefighter and emergency medical technician on the city's fire department.
"It was such a pleasure providing services to the residents for the last 15 years," he said.
Mayor Don Kuchta praised Crevar for the job he has done, which includes overseeing road and sanitary and stormwater system maintenance, as well as maintaining city parks and other property and plowing and salting roads in winter.
"Jim Crevar had one of the toughest jobs in the city because the service department is what people see the most and judge the city's administration on," said Kuchta. "The service department is out there all the time. The service department can make or break the mayor."
Kuchta said the city would begin advertising for applicants to fill vacant position. In the meantime, said Kuchta, he and service department foreman Jim DeGaetano will split the duties of interim service director, with Kuchta handling administrative duties and DeGaetano in charge out in the field.
Kuchta said DeGaetano, a 20-year department veteran, started attending staff meetings before Crevar's retirement.
"He is also a candidate for the job," said Kuchta. "He has a wealth of knowledge."
Crevar, 54, is originally from Cleveland, but moved to Northfield Center in the 1970s. He and his wife Kim married in 1980 and moved to Garfield Heights, where they lived for about five years before buying a lot in Macedonia and building their home there. The couple have a son, also named Jim.
Crevar got his start in 1982, when he went to work for the Beachwood service department.
"I started at the bottom and worked my way up to crew leader when I left," he said.
He said he became interested in firefighting while talking with firefighters in Beachwood about their job. He joined Macedonia's department in August 1991. In his early 30s at the time, Crevar said he was already well past the age when most firefighters start out.
"That was why I didn't make it a career -- because I started too late," he said.
Macedonia Fire Chief Tim Black said Crevar has been a particularly important asset to the department because fire and service departments often work together, especially during weather-related emergencies.
"It was really good having Jim as a service director because he was cross trained," said Black. "It worked very well. Jim is very professional and dedicated."
Crevar left his job in Beachwood when he was hired as Macedonia Service Director in July 1997.
Crevar said he has enjoyed all aspects of the job, from road work to his involvement dealing with rubbish pickup contracts.
"I like helping the residents. There's not much I don't like about it," he said.
Kuchta said that after he took office in 2004, "Jim was involved with me on a new direction for the service department," which included saving money by taking some jobs in-house -- such as branch pickup and culvert and catchbasin maintenance -- rather than paying an outside contractor.
Kuchta also noted that the service department was hit by staffing cuts, including the layoff of the assistant service director, following budget cuts in early 2010.
"Jim's job over the last few years got harder," said Kuchta. "He was not only working with less staff on the streets, but less staff in the office. But Jim got the job done."
Crevar said what he will miss the most about the service director job will be the people he has worked with.
"People in the office and the service workers," said Crevar. "After 15 years, you get to know people."