Mill Creek Park Executive Director gets 3-year extension

Embattled Mill Creeks Metro Parks Executive Director Aaron Young is holding on to his position for another three years.

Mill Creek’s Park Board approved the extension on Monday with a 4-1 vote. Young will receive a raise, as well, and is now on track to make $97,000 this year. His salary jumps from $92,000 to $112,000 per year.

Members of the board said Wednesday night they’re working on a new five-year plan for the park and keeping Young adds continuity to their long-term plans.

But not everyone is a fan of this decision.

“I was amenable to modest increases over the last couple of years to his current five-year contract,” said park Commisioner Tom Shipka, who voted against it. “But since we’re only halfway through his current five-year contract, I felt it inappropriate to grant an extension at this juncture.”

The decision was made following an executive session at the regularly scheduled meeting, which commissioners say there was a public vote on.

In a press release, Mill Creek Park praised Young, calling him a “recognized leader among those who manage park districts.”

“There’s a five-year plan that is being initiated,” Commission President Lee Frey said. “And we wanted to give him the opportunity to finish that plan. I think that’s important. He’s gone along with all the different changes we have made.”

But those opposed to Young, like Youngstown resident Bill Adams, have a lot to say about Young’s extended term.

“Just sticking with the facts, it doesn’t make any sense,” Adams said. “It’s such a glowing review, it makes you wonder, ‘Are we talking about the same thing?’

“He’s in the middle of a five-year contract,” Adams added. “At this point, if they wanted to buy him out of a contract, it’s relatively inexpensive. But by increasing the length of the contract and giving him a raise, it’s like they’re done with that.”