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Service and Safety Director is grateful

To the editor:

It has been an honor to work for Mayor Berlin these last nine years. He is the most thorough, strategic, and fair individual I know, and his dedication to working in the best interests of the citizens of Salem is inspiring.

Mayor Berlin’s leadership and the work of our Administrative Assistant, Debbie Bricker, made each day as Salem’s Service and Safety Director enjoyable. As I have stated to many people recently, I never had a bad day on the job.

I also had the pleasure of working directly with Police Chief J.T. Panezott, Fire Chief Scott Mason, Street Department foreman Jim Phillis, and electrician Scott Devan. These individuals are so proficient in the management of their departments, my role as their director was virtually stress free. The employees of the police, fire, and street departments follow their leaders’ example and take pride in their jobs, and one of the highlights of my position was receiving regular feedback from local citizens who appreciate the services these departments provide for the City of Salem.

Another benefit I enjoyed in my role was the ability to witness the day-to-day workings of these employees. I can attest that the unique group of men in the street department can accomplish nearly anything given the proper equipment, which Mayor Berlin and I worked so hard to provide for them. You will not find a more cohesive team than these gentlemen; from their self-made nicknames, recurrent teasing of each other, and even their motorcycle gang of 70 CC mini-motorcycles.

The protection we receive as Salem residents from our police and fire departments is unrivaled. To answer a calling to serve is a career choice that only a select group of people aspire to undertake, and we are so fortunate to have such exceptional individuals who have chosen to protect and serve the city of Salem. I have observed these first responders run toward danger when most people run away, and am confident that they are well-prepared for any situation they may encounter.

Lastly, I have seen first-hand all of the work Salem’s electrician does to repair our traffic lights, cameras, pump stations, and work required at the water treatment and waste water plants. Scott is quite literally the power behind what keeps our city running smoothly, and his work is valued by everyone.

I have made the decision to retire at this time because I now have four young grandsons and want to spend more time with them. Cindy and I know how quickly children grow up, and I want to be a part of their lives as much as possible. It has been a privilege to finish out my career working for the City of Salem; the city where I was born, attended school, met my wife, and quickly returned to when it was time to raise our family. I will forever be grateful to Mayor Berlin for appointing me to this position, and commend his decision to appoint Joe Cappuzzello as my successor. I leave my post with continued love for his city and complete confidence in the leadership team in place.

Ken Kenst,

Director of Public Service and Safety, City of Salem

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