On the heels of hiring a new public works director, Riverside’s village manager filled another vacancy last week, naming Ron Malchiodi as the village’s new recreation director.

Malchiodi has worked as acting director for the department since February, following the departure of former director Laure Kosey. Prior to that, since 2002, Malchiodi served as the department’s program coordinator and handled much of the day-to-day operations of the department.

“I didn’t really go out and seek other candidates for the position for two reasons,” Pete Scalera said. “First, Ron has been serving since February and he’s been able to adapt well. I’m also a firm believer of promoting from within whenever I can.”

Prior to being hired in Riverside, Malchiodi was director of recreation at Veterans Park District, which serves parts of Melrose Park, Franklin Park, River Grove and Northlake.

Serving as long as he has in the programming role, Malchiodi brings a good deal of institutional knowledge to the job along with the hands-on operational abilities.

“I’ll have the benefit of having been in that position. I think it’ll make me a better director,” Malchiodi said. “But I’ll assume more administrative duties. Previously I would do the day-to-day things.”

Malchiodi is in the process of selecting a new program coordinator for the department.

“I’m interviewing right now,” Malchiodi said. “I’m hoping to hire someone by the end of the month.”

In his new role, Malchiodi will be paid $72,000, according to Scalera. As program coordinator he was earning $55,000. When he was named to acting director, he received a salary boost to about $62,000.

His first official day as director was Monday.

Malchiodi has had a front-row seat for the recent changes in the way the department is governed. He previously worked closely with members of the parks and recreation board, which was dissolved in September by village trustees.

Since that time he has worked without the benefit of direction from any board. The Riverside parks and recreation advisory commission, created when the recreation board was dissolved, still has not been constituted.

According to Scalera, the village board has been sidetracked from that duty by the 2011 budget process.

“I think once we’re through the budget process, trustees can turn their focus to filling that commission.”