2007-05-26 / News

Thornville hires administrator

By Scott Rawdon

THORNVILLE- Ron Koehler, who was volunteering as Thornville's interim village administrator, accepted the job permanently on a part-time basis, said Thornville Mayor Beth Patrick. "He's a great choice," she said.

Koehler, who is retired from the Shelley Company, will work three days per week and earn $16,000 per year, said Patrick. He replaces former village administrator Josh Eggleston, who stepped down from the position in April. Koehler was filling in as administrator on a voluntary basis until the Thornville Village Council hired him permanently.

In other council news,

+ Things are happening quickly regarding contract negotiations between Thornville and Perry County. The county may contract the village to provide sewer service to the South Bank of Buckeye Lake, mainly to homes along Honey Creek Road. Patrick believes the village and the county may be close to reaching an agreement very soon if the county is willing to make a few compromises. She said the village is certainly closer to reaching an agreement now than it was a little more than a week ago, when the village was considering walking away from contract negotiations altogether. Here's a summary of what's taken place since May 15:

Patrick said May 15 that she and members of council were unhappy with the Perry County Commissioners' contract revisions.

"I think Thornville's extremely close to walking away," said Patrick May 15. She and other council members thought they had most of the details hashed out in a previous meeting with the commissioners, who just needed to add those details to the contract, she said. But, when the commissioners returned the proposed contract to the council after making their revisions, Patrick said many of the village's safeguards were removed. "We feel like they're shopping around for a better alternative," she said. "They're just using us to keep the EPA happy." Patrick said Thornville has "wasted precious money" on analyzing the county's various proposals and having a lawyer determine what's best for the village. "It's not right. They need to be up front with us," she said. "Thornville's not going to be taken advantage of any more. We're still open but we need to have honest negotiations."

"They left some things out," said Koehler May 15. He agreed with Patrick in believing that the details of the contract were "hammered out" with the commissioners during a previous meeting and simply needed to be written into the contract. The commissioners returned a contract that didn't contain those details. "It was missing quite a few items," he said.

Perry Commissioner Lonnie Wood said May 15 that he understood the village wanted the commissioners to place the numbers they thought were appropriate into the contract and worried there was a misunderstanding. He badly wanted the commissioners and the village council to "sit down face to face" and work out an agreement once and for all. "If they walk away from this, it's going to be the worst thing for everybody up there," said Wood. "I'll sit down any time and be there all night if I have to." He hoped council members would be willing to meet with him soon.

Wood added May 15 that the county was not using Thornville as a bargaining chip to explore other alternatives. "I'd rather work with Thornville to get it done," he said.

May 23, Patrick said that all three commissioners met with village officials May 16 and while the meeting didn't last all night, it did last until almost midnight. "We made progress," she said. Patrick believes that following the May 16 meeting each side had a clearer understanding of the other side's position. A revised version of the contract that was generated during the May 16 meeting was submitted to Thornville's village solicitor. Patrick anticipated the solicitor would have the proposal reviewed and have suggested changes ready by Friday, May 25. The village will then send that revised version to the commissioners.

"We've taken to heart what (the county commissioners) have said. We have a very good compromise to send to the county. We hope (the county) will compromise with us. I'm hopeful," she said.

+ Resident Dick Krumlauf was appointed to the council seat that was vacated when Patrick, formerly council president, accepted mayorship.

+ Wednesday, May 30, 7 p.m., the village will hold a town meeting in the Thornville Elementary School with guest Perry County Sheriff William Barker to discuss a multi-township police district proposed for the greater Thornville area. Since the preceding Monday is Memorial Day, the council will hold a short meeting at 6 p.m. directly before the town meeting.

+ Koehler said a group of people serving community service sentences by the county (for minor infractions) helped clean up some sites around Thornville. "They did a wonderful job," he said. "It was a good group."

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