Fairfield to lose its parks director by mid-November

Tiphanie Mays accepted offer to be one of two assistant administrators for Colerain Twp.

Fairfield’s Parks and Recreation director will leave next month for a new job in Hamilton County.

Parks director Tiphanie Mays had, for the past decade, begun training to grow her responsibilities in local government. In 2012, she focused her energy on furthering her local government career after attending the International City/County Management Association, or ICMA, national conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Earlier this week, Mays accepted the conditional offer to be one of two new assistant administrators with Colerain Twp. Township trustees will consider her employment, as well as promote Colerain’s finance director, Jeff McElravy, according to township administrator Jeff Weckbach, who declined to comment on the hires until after the trustees’ vote next month.

According to the conditional offers of employment letters, both Mays and McElravy would earn $110,011 annually. Mays’ current salary with Fairfield is $116,000.

Mays started as Fairfield’s Parks and Recreation director with Fairfield in September 2018, coming from the city of Blue Ash. In addition to being a decade-long member of ICMA, she completed in November 2021 the organization’s high-performance professional leadership academy, a 12-week program. At that point, she was “ready for that next step.”

“I felt that was a perfect opportunity to advance my career and bring my talents to this organization,” she said of the Colerain Twp. job opening. “It wasn’t that I was searching, but it came to me.”

Though she’s excited about the new adventure, it is bittersweet.

“I love my team here, and we’re doing great things,” said Mays. “In that short time, I’ve been on a team that we’ve been able to accomplish millions of dollars of investments and improvements in our community, and that’s something to be really proud of.”

This includes a 6.5-acre dog park with a trailhead, the continuation of the Harbin Park revitalization efforts, including completing during her tenure a loop trail, new pickleball courts, and a large pavilion at the overlook.

“Now we’re nearing the end of Phase 1 (of the Harbin redevelopment), and I’ve been really proud to offer that here to our community for improvement and the quality of their life,” she said.

But none of the projects the parks department has accomplished can touch the relationship she’s developed with her team, which is what she said she “holds closest to my heart.”

“Who we have today on board, and building that team over the last four years, I would say, is my most successful part of being here,” she said. “I’m really proud of the staff. We came through this year was the most successful year, I believe, as far as serving our community in terms of attracting high-caliber talent and improving our events and facilities for our community.”

She has no doubts that with her staff, she’s leaving the parks department with “a bright future” and is “set up for great success.”

But she couldn’t pass up on the Colerain Twp. job because the 49-year-old said, “If I don’t take this opportunity now, I don’t know when the next good opportunity will come along.”

City Manager Scott Timmer said this will be “a great opportunity for Tiphanie to take the next step in her local government career.”

He said the search process will be similar to all senior staff positions and will be conducted in-house. The new parks director will be Timmer’s fourth senior team member since he started as city manager in February. In the past year, Timmer has hired an assistant city manager and finance director. He’s in the process of hiring a new fire chief.

“We hope to have (the parks director) position filled around the start of next year,” Timmer said.

Mays did express interest in Fairfield’s assistant city manager position, but the requirements of that job didn’t align with her skillsets. With Colerain Twp., she said they were looking for someone that had community development experience, “and I fit that need.”

“I love doing community projects and improving the community through projects and development,” she said.

Mays said it was important for her to be in Fairfield because a career is a process.

“When is the right time to go to that next opportunity? Nobody knows,” she said. “Process is important. You can’t go to that next level if you don’t experience the level before. There’s no way I could have jumped from being a recreation superintendent to an assistant township administrator without being a director first.”

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

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