“After nearly 45 years of working for the city, I have decided to retire. It has been an honor to serve Norwalk and I appreciate the opportunities I have been given throughout my career. As my friend, the late Mayor Louie Frey said, ‘Norwalk is the finest little city in the state of Ohio.’ Many people have worked hard to keep this community strong and growing and I wish nothing but the best for the future of Norwalk,” she said.
Eschen’s retirement is effective Aug. 31.
Mayor Rob Duncan said Eschen is respected and cares for the citizens of Norwalk.
“She has done an impeccable job as the finance director, which brings great credit to the community. During her tenure as finance director, she has received 21 consecutive annual audits of the city’s finances with no Ohio Revised Code non-compliance citations. That itself speaks volumes for her dedication to detail,” the mayor said in a prepared statement.
“I want to express my deep and sincere appreciation to Diane. I have learned so much from her and appreciate her love and dedication to the city. Her institutional knowledge is incredible and will be impossible to replace. I wish Diane the best in her well-deserved retirement,” Duncan added.
Safety-service director Dan Wendt joined the mayor in praising Eschen’s “love for the city of Norwalk and its people.”
“(She) always is going to make the right decision for the people of Norwalk,” said Wendt, who called Eschen “a pedagogue of humanity.”
“She teaches people to teach. She is a great educator. If she weren’t a finance director, I think she would have been called into teaching,” he said. “I have learned so much from Diane in the last year.”
Michelle Reeder has worked with Eschen in the finance department since 2005.
“She has been a fabulous finance director,” said Reeder, who has been the assistant finance director for the last seven years.
“The city is in great shape due to her dedication to the city. She pays great attention to detail and always makes sure everyone else is on their toes and knows what they’re doing,” she added.
Councilman Chris Mushett said Eschen has served Norwalk “exceptionally well over the years.”
“Her record of ‘no citation’ audits is exemplary. I have really enjoyed working with her and I had the utmost confidence in her financial projections, suggestions and recommendations,” he added.
“Norwalk has been blessed to have had her services for 45 years and her knowledge, experience and insights will be greatly missed. She has certainly earned her retirement and I hope she enjoys every minute of it.”
Council president Steve Euton said 45 years is an “amazing amount of time working for the city.”
“(She has) a great track record in all audits and working through rough times. Important shoes we now must fill. Best wishes for a good and long retirement. Thanks for all you have done for the city.”
Councilman Chris Castle has worked with Eschen for about 18 months, but has witnessed her impact.
“She is great at her job; she will be missed,” he said.
“Diane has served this city longer than I’ve been alive. She has seen multiple mayors come and go. She has seen multiple council (members) come and go and other department heads, which speaks to her dedication to this city.
“I don’t think we’ve had a civil servant who has served the city as long as Diane (has) and I don’t foresee we will ever again,” Castle added. “We are never going to see another Diane Eschen.”