Mayor-elect names two new city department heads


Two city departments will have new leaders in less than a week.

Seymour Mayor-Elect Matt Nicholson recently promoted Chad Dixon of Seymour to director of the city’s department of public works and named Stacy Findley of Columbus director of parks and recreation.

Dixon has worked for DPW for 17 years, starting as a temporary employee on the mowing crew.

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“I took the job for just something to do, and they kept me around,” he said. “Thank goodness they did.”

From mowing, he went to the recycling department, then to the sanitation department, followed by the concrete crew. He is now a supervisor overseeing the street department.

“I guess that gives me a unique perspective,” he said. “I’m hoping that we won’t have too much of a learning curve. I should be able to take off with it and run.”

He replaces current DPW Director Bill Everhart, who has served in the position since 2013.

Dixon said he is looking forward to working with Nicholson and other city leaders to make changes and improvements for the future.

“I think we can all come together as a team,” he said.

Although he’s not ready to discuss his plans yet, he is looking forward to meeting with all of the different stakeholders, including employees and the public.

“There are things to come,” he said. “I do have some changes.”

Nicholson said he received eight applications for DPW director, half of them being internal candidates.

He chose Dixon for his past experience and knowledge of the department and community.

“Along the way, Chad has done many of the jobs he will now oversee,” Nicholson said. “All of these pieces along with the ideas he brought to the table are what made him my choice.”

Findley is taking over for current Parks and Recreation Director Bob Tabeling, who has been on the job for the last three years.

A total of nine people applied for the job, including two internal applicants, Nicholson said.

“During Stacy’s interview, she brought ideas for all areas of parks and recreation,” he said. “She was discussing sports, playgrounds, trails, conservation and more. She already has experience related to parks and rec and leadership that I felt is a must.”

Findley’s enthusiasm is another reason she was chosen, Nicholson said.

“I believe her excitement will be contagious, and she will be able to work well with existing parks and rec employees to continue the progress already made in our parks department,” he said.

Findley has been a career nonprofit worker, spending time at a foster care agency for older teens, a child abuse prevention program, as a smoking cessation educator at Schneck Medical Center and director of Family School Partners in Columbus.

Most recently, she was the project and resource development director with the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department. In that position, she raised more than $1 million and oversaw all of the department’s capital projects.

She was successful in getting grants to purchase new playground equipment and make improvements to Columbus’ dog park and raised all of the funds for the Jolie Crider Memorial Skatepark in Columbus.

“I have a lot of experience with grant writing,” she said.

As part of those projects, she also conducted community input sessions, where she interacted with the public to get feedback on what citizens wanted.

“I would say redoing the Jolie Crider Memorial Skatepark has been one of the biggest highlights of my career,” she said.

Now, she will work with the Seymour community to expand the Schurman-Grubb Memorial Skatepark, using grant money from the Jackson County Visitor Center.

“Whenever I had seen that Seymour was looking for a new director and they had also received a grant for their skatepark, it just felt like a really great opportunity for me to use the skills that I’ve learned at Columbus Parks and Rec,” she said.

One of her passions is conservation and nature programming for adults and children, she said.

She helped introduce pollinator parks in Columbus and oversaw the volunteer program with the Columbus Farmers Market.

“I see lots of opportunity for growth,” she said. “Seymour has a lot of great things going on right now, and it’s really exciting to be part of all that has been started and jump in at a great time because there is a lot of great stuff happening.”

She would like to offer more reduced cost or free programming for families and wants to look at adding low-cost, low-maintenance pollinator parks to areas in the community that may be eyesores.

With young kids of her own, Findley said she wants to make sure children and adults are safe when riding their bikes by adding new trails and more bike lanes.

Her involvement in Columbus’ bike and pedestrian plan led to the city introducing Hawk signals in downtown Columbus that allow people to activate a flashing signal before crossing to make it safer.

Findley also would like to help bring a splash pad feature to Seymour for families with young children.

“I think that Seymour could really benefit from a splash pad,” she said.

She plans to work closely with Nicholson and other city leaders on creating a list of short-term and long-term priorities, finding funding and completing Seymour’s bucket list items.

“I really feel like one of my strengths is going after funding for different projects,” she said. “Parks departments are opportunities for communities to really shine, and I think there are some things we can do to solidify who we are and give us some amenities that everyone can be proud of.”

The parks department also can help with recruiting new employers and businesses to a community, spurring economic growth and tourism.

“It’s a really exciting time because we’re beginning to have these conversations,” she said. “And where that can lead, I feel like the sky is the limit.”

Dixon and Findley join Nicholson’s previous appointees, including new Police Chief Bryant Lucas, Fire Chief Brad Lucas and Building Commissioner Jeremy Gray.

“I am excited for the team that is being built to help lead Seymour into the future,” Nicholson said.

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