Oregon Council recently approved the appointment of Melissa M. Purpura to be the city’s new prosecutor and law director.
Purpura, of Perrysburg Township, was one of four finalists interviewed by Mayor Mike Seferian, City Administrator Mike Beazley, and councilmen Jerry Peach, Jim Seaman and Council President Dennis Walendzak.
“I think all five of us believed she stood out from the others,” Seferian told The Press last week. “After listening to the interviews, I think we all felt that Melissa – without influence from one another - was the person. Resumes can help bring someone to an interview, but it’s what they can deliver in person that gives you that confidence. Things did click very well in the interview. She belonged here, right off the bat. She was very calm, very confident, very prepared.”
Purpura is replacing long time Law Director Paul Goldberg and Prosecutor Tom Dugan, who retired last month.
The city decided to combine both offices into one for reasons of efficiency and cost savings.
Goldberg’s and Dugan’s positions were part-time and they worked a few days per week in the city. Beazley, who has a law degree, helped with legal matters as needed.
Purpura will also fit in with the clerk of council, the executive assistant, and the administrative assistant to the public service director, who are located in one wing of the municipal building, said Seferian.
“There’s real harmony in the way those people in that end of the building work together. They really enjoy working with one another. People don’t understand that working relationship and its importance. Over the last four years, I and Mike Beazley saw how crucial that is to the operation of the city. We work with those people every day. There are a lot of people who have the credentials to do the job of law director and prosecutor. But to fit in a unique way with the other three that are there, know they will be part of that operation, we knew it would be one of the most important things to consider. We knew the person we were going to hire would have to fit in with those three and be part of that harmony. Melissa seemed to be the person who would be able to do that,” he said.
Purpura, who started her new full-time position on Jan. 2, will be paid $82,852 annually.
She will also be performing human resources duties, which have been shared over the years by other city employees, most recently by the executive assistant who has become overwhelmed with growing workers’ compensation claims, said Seferian.
“There’s a lot of corruption,” he said. “We’re suspicious of a lot of these injuries – 50 percent are probably legitimate. The files are thick on certain individuals. They go on for years. And the claims have increased. Workers’ compensation rates paid by employers have gone up because of our exposure to more and more claims. There’s more fraud. It costs businesses everywhere a lot of money. Melissa will represent the city in these cases. It takes a lot of work. Someone with a legal mind can stay on top of these things and help a lot.”
Seferian said he and Beazley have discussed consolidating the positions for over two years.
“It’s another way we chose to consolidate some services within the city. After looking at it for about two and a half years, we thought this might be the best manner in which to proceed,” said Seferian. “We believe this can be done three fold. All these goals can be done by one person.”
The city will also have an assistant prosecutor on call when Purpura is on vacation or has a large work load, he added.
Purpura received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science in 1999 and her law degree in 2003 from the University of Toledo.
She was previously with the law firm of Heban, Somers, Murphree, LLC, in Rossford, where she practiced estate planning, real estate and zoning law, and was visiting magistrate for the City of Northwood. In addition, she was prosecuting attorney and assistant solicitor for the cities of Rossford and Waterville, and the villages of Whitehouse and Bloomdale, Ohio.