Shumway President, Mucci VP
“It’s an important day for Geauga County parks.” – Tim Grendell
No matter how her name is pronounced, Mary Ruth Shumway will have one name that’s not hard to remember: President, Geauga Park District Board of Commissioners.
Geauga County Probate Court Judge Timothy Grendell swore in Shumway, an Auburn Township resident, and Burton Township resident Louis Mucci as the newest park commissioners Friday afternoon.
“It’s not SHOOM-way; it’s SHUM-way, like, ‘Shumway, you’ll remember me,’” Mary Ruth Shumway told park board Secretary Anna McDonald during roll call.
Shumway was named as president, nominated by Mucci. Subsequently, she nominated Mucci as vice president.
The light moment marks the end of an exhaustive search for new park board commissioners after the three prior members — Jim Patterson, Nick Fischbach and Mike Petruziello — either resigned or had their terms end.
“It’s an important day for Geauga County parks,” Grendell said prior to swearing them in. “As a person who enjoys using the parks, I did not make this decision lightly.”
Grendell said he received more than 40 applications for the positions and conducted more than 20 interviews before choosing the two candidates.
“We wanted to get our park board working by the end of January. I had to make the first two appointments today.”
Grendell said he has encountered Shumway before. Shumway is a volunteer court-appointed special advocate in Geauga County Juvenile Court. She has been involved in private practice, mediating custody disputes and family issues in juvenile court, according to her resume.
“She is the first woman since Betty Cope on the park board,” Grendell said. “I thought it was about time we had a woman’s touch on the Geauga County park board again. It’s a pleasure to have her on the board.”
She will be taking the position held by Fischbach, with two years left on the term.
Grendell talked about Mucci, calling him an accomplished businessman with experience working in preservation and conservation. Mucci served as a Burton Township trustee, according to a press release from Grendell.
Mucci also served two years on the Burton Township Zoning Commission, nine years as a member of Berkshire Community Planning Association, two years on the Geauga County Planning Commission and four years as chairman of the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center.
“As a trustee, Lou did great things,” the judge said. “When I was on the state legislature, I worked with him on the acquisition of Headwaters Park on Rapids Road. We also both worked to keep asphalt plants out of Burton Township several years.
“He’s a great asset in the park board,” Grendell said of Mucci, who will replace Patterson for the open three-year term.
More interviews are scheduled for the third position vacated by Petruziello, now a Chester trustee.
“That process will continue and those folks will be notified for additional interviews,” Grendell said. “I expect the board to be carrying out the traditions of the various programs we’ve had to also look at new programs, so now taxpayers can enjoy the parks in Geauga County.”
He said the third person will be selected within the next few weeks.
“That way, we can get functioning and have our organizational meeting,” Grendell said. “I want to also thank (Interim Deputy Director) John Oros for his work during the transition.”
During a break in the meeting, Shumway’s family and friends discussed her appointment. “I’m proud of her,” said Shumway’s husband, Andy. “She’s very excited to be selected.”
He said his family loves Geauga County and has lived in Auburn for 17 years. A family friend, Chagrin Falls resident Zoe Luczywo, said she felt Shumway would rise to the occasion.
“She wanted to do something hard and I have faith she will rise to the challenge.”
After the meeting, Shumway said she wanted to focus on education, preservation and conservation, while Mucci promised he would work hard to serve the community.
The park board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Donald W. Meyer Center in Big Creek Park.
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