MOUNT VERNON — In announcing his choice for safety service director, Mayor-elect Matt Starr is bringing back a familiar face to Mount Vernon.

Former Knox County 9-1-1 director Rick Dzik will assume the duties of Mount Vernon safety service director in January. He will take over from Joel Daniels, who is retiring this year.

Dzik comes to the job after working for three years in the private sector as a project manager with Crowe, LLP, a Columbus firm that assists state and local governments with infrastructure needs, management techniques and procurement and implementation of technology.

Starr said he began talking with Dzik about the job in May. At the time, Starr said he was also interviewing other candidates for the position, and Dzik stood out from the rest in large part due to his variety of experience. He is familiar with both aspects of the safety-services director job, that of public safety and of public services.

Dzik’s past career experience includes serving on fire departments, including Mount Vernon Fire, and he worked with Mount Vernon Police when moving through the dispatch consolidation for Knox County 9-1-1. While Dzik was 9-1-1 director he completed his master’s degree in public policy and management.

Dzik started his career in public safety as a firefighter, serving on College Township while a student at Kenyon and left the department as a captain in 2016. He worked for Mount Vernon Fire Department from 2009-11, and was director of 9-1-1 from 2011 to 2016. He has been with his current employer since September 2016.

“Both the public and private experience is wonderful to have,” Starr said. “Rick has been at the table, he has experience with collective bargaining. (His) master’s degree in public policy and management is important as well.”

Dzik said he has been looking to return to Knox County for some time. He was one of five finalists for Gambier Village Administrator when that position came up last year (the job went to RC Wise.)

Dzik said he will be part of budget hearings for the city over the next two months. He is ready to hit the ground running, but will start with an information-gathering approach.

“At this stage it is most prudent, before we can plan any big changes, to understand as deeply as possible what the departments are doing,” Dzik said. “I’m familiar with public safety, what these departments go through on a day-to-day basis. We won’t have to spend a lot of time getting me up to speed. We can focus on how we can get these agencies the resources they need.”

Dzik currently resides in Columbus, but he and his family are looking to relocate to fulfill the residency requirement for the safety-services director job, he said.

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Nick Sabo: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter,