Hilliard’s new director of recreation and parks will begin his new job the day after Labor Day.

Ed Merritt, the current director of parks and recreation for the village of Obetz, begins his new post Sept. 4, said Doug Francis, director of communications and internet technology for Hilliard.

“I am pleased to bring (Merritt) on board. His accomplishments will bring a great deal of experience and leadership to our recreation and parks department,” Hilliard Mayor Don Schonhardt said.

Merritt will succeed Steve Mazer, whom Schonhardt fired March 8.

Mazer’s dismissal followed the March 1 indictment by a Franklin County grand jury of Heather H. Ernst, the city’s former deputy director, on eight felony counts that included one count of theft, one count of theft in office, two counts of tampering with evidence and four counts of filing incomplete, false and fraudulent tax records.

Beth Simon, the city’s recreation-programs director, has been serving as interim department director.

The city’s human-resources department collaborated with the Ohio Department of Parks and Recreation to recruit and evaluate candidates for the position, and after a comprehensive, multistate search, Merritt was appointed by Schonhardt, said Anna Subler, the city’s communications administrator.

“I’m excited to get to work (at Hilliard),” said Merritt, 43, who also has served as the recreation superintendent in Grove City.

Merritt’s annual salary is $110,000 plus benefits.

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