After serving his last day as North Canton’s chief of police Tuesday, Michael Grimes steps into the position as city administrator today.
He didn’t have too far to go, though. The job takes him from the lower level of North Canton City Hall to an office on the first floor. He’ll use the same parking lot, work in the same building and surround himself with the city’s key players he already has worked with for years.
“The difference is going to be I’m no longer a police officer,” Grimes said Tuesday afternoon. “I’m going to have to dial the police, which is going to be different.”
Joining the force in 1978, Grimes has been North Canton's police chief for 11 years. As city administrator, Grimes will oversee city departments and field residents' concerns, among other tasks.
One aspect of his new job that will carry over is his commitment to safety, he said.
Grimes said he’ll keep communication, service and safety in mind as he settles into the job of city administrator. He said he’ll ensure city employees follow the law when carrying out their duties.
As city administrator, Grimes will be a connection between city employees and the citizens, and that interaction with the public isn’t something that’s new to him. He said he’s always made himself available to citizens while police chief.
“(North Canton) is a small city where people pick up their phone and they want to talk to the chief, and they get to do that,” he said.
He said he came to North Canton because it was a great community to start a family and raise children in a great school system. The citizens not only are friendly, but they strive to make the city better. And he’s become one of those citizens who wants to better the city, too.
“I’m not aloof. I’m not filled with self-importance. I’m just another citizen that wants to make North Canton better.”
Lt. Michael Wurgler steps in as acting police chief until someone is appointed. Grimes said a few members of the police department will take the Civil Service Test March 23. The city may have a new chief within three months, he said.
Grimes’ departure accompanies other structural changes within the department. The department eventually will make the move from six lieutenant positions, which was the case in January, to two lieutenant and four sergeant positions.
, and . and Frank Kemp Jr. both have gone from patrolman to sergeant.
Grimes said has no worries about those changes or leaving the department in the hands of a new chief.
“I’m confident whoever they pick for that is going to be great at it.”