Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville

Longtime service director retiring Aug. 29

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In nine years as Westerville's service department director, Frank Wiseman has dealt with snow, hurricane-force winds and downed trees.

But when he retires Aug. 29, Wiseman will take on a new set of challenges.

"I'll be focusing on the three G's: golf, gardening and grandkids," he said with a laugh.

Wiseman will be trading his day job for time with his three children and eight grandchildren in Lancaster. But he'll be leaving with fond memories of Westerville.

"It's a great city to work for," he said. "Westerville is No. 1 in a number of areas and it's because of the people and because of the community."

The latter, he said, made a difference for him as a public employee.

"It's an old cliche, but Westerville really is a community, not just a city," he said. "It's people living together and caring for each other."

When Wiseman looks back on his time in Westerville, he sees himself as a delegator.

"It's directing," he said. "It's planning and preparation and getting us ready so that we can be prepared. So we don't have to say, 'What do we do now?' "

Being prepared was important throughout Wiseman's last winter in charge. While there weren't any catastrophic snowstorms, he said it was the harshest winter he had experienced.

His biggest challenge as director came in the late 2000s, when hurricane-force winds tore down trees throughout the city. Rather than leaving individuals and the power company to sort things out, the city offered a hand.

"The city as a whole stepped forward and decided to remove tree limbs and branches, even though it's not a normal job for us," Wiseman said. "All the departments worked together and pitched in. It was great."

Among his proudest achievements, he cites the new salt storage and service administration facilities, and earning accreditation from the American Public Works Association.

But Wiseman doesn't take sole credit for the accomplishments, and says incoming director Kevin Weaver will have the same assistance he's had.

"I think he'll do a good job. I think he'll find the resources are there. ... He'll find it easy because there are some really good guys in this department."

Wiseman hasn't made any major plans for his retirement, but he said he likes it that way. So far, his only commitments are woodworking and "whatever my wife tells me to do."

"I'm just taking things as they come," he said. "It's like waiting for Christmas when you're 6 years old and it's only Thanksgiving," he said with a smile. "You know something big is about to happen, but you're just not sure what it is."

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