Recreation director takes new position
Search under way for new replacement
When Mark Zerrer began work as Tonganoxie's first full-time recreation director in 1994, he didn't think he'd stay in the job for long.
"I thought I would stay less than five years," said Zerrer, 34.
But now it's time to move on, he said. Next Wednesday, Zerrer will leave the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission for a job as unit administrator for a U.S. Army Reserve unit in Topeka.
"I'll take care of the unit soldiers, the unit personnel, their military records," said Zerrer, who has been an Army reserve member for about 15 years.
"I'm looking forward to the new challenges," he said.
Zerrer and his family -- wife Debbie and daughters, Megan, a second-grader, and Nicole, a kindergartner -- will continue to live in Tonganoxie.
"It's a town that I grew up fairly close to," he said. "We plan to stay here and make it our home."
¢ The city council and the school board each appoint two members to the 36-year-old commission. Those commission members appoint a fifth member.
¢ The school district levies taxes from its patrons on behalf of the commission.
¢ Next year, the commission's 3.4-mill levy will raise about $270,000 for its operating budget, and its employee benefits fund will raise about $50,000 with a levy of about 0.57 of a mill, school Supt. Richard Erickson said.
Under the leadership of Zerrer and the five-member rec commission board, the program's scope has grown in recent years.
"The commission has done some good things with some facilities," Zerrer said. "Chieftain Park is the best example."
In addition, an associate director's position was created two years ago. Dustin Delaney, who holds that position, will be interim director until a replacement is found for Zerrer. In addition, a year-round, part-time maintenance coordinator's job was created. Russ Kimberlin currently holds that job. And participation in programs continues to blossom.
"We're growing much like the town is growing," said Zerrer, a 1992 graduate of Kansas State University who grew up on a farm about six miles west of Leavenworth.
The recreation commission board has interviewed five applicants for Zerrer's job and invited three to visit the city.
Ken Mark, chairman of the board, said the board is requiring three to five years of experience of the new director, who will be paid between $35,000 and $45,000.
"We really want somebody who can come in and hit the ground running and nurture the programs we have -- and develop new programs, too," Mark said.
Zerrer has been a good director for the area's recreation programs, said Mark, who joined the board in 1992.
"He's certainly conscientious and takes things to heart, tries to do the job in the way the board envisions that job being done," he said. "He, I think, certainly tries to please the public and be sensitive to the public's needs and tries to meet those needs as much as possible."