Commissioner retiring this year
LANCASTER – Long-time Fairfield County Commissioner Jon Myers announced Tuesday that he will retire as commissioner effective Dec. 31. Two years remain on the Republican commissioner’s term.
“After much prayerful thought and consideration, I have decided to resign as Fairfield County Commissioner,” said Myers in a statement he read during the Tuesday commissioners’ meeting. “After nearly 30 years of public service, I have decided to spend more time with my family and grandchildren.
“I would like to publicly thank the citizens of Lancaster and Fairfield County for the confidence they have given me to represent them as a Lancaster City Councilman, state representative, and county commissioner.
“I have enjoyed working with all aspects of county government and the dedicated people who serve our county. I will especially miss working with our office staff and my fellow commissioners,” said Myers.
Commissioner Clerk Scott Zody said the commissioners would name a temporary replacement to serve until the Republican Central Committee can meet and name a replacement to fill Myers’ unexpired term. “That will likely occur in mid-January,” he said.
Myers said Wednesday that his wife has been retired for several years and he’d like to spend some time traveling with her, which is difficult for county commissioners who must attend many meetings per year. “We felt the timing was right,” he said. Also, Commissioner Judy Shupe is not seeking re-election after her current term expires in two years, and Myers wanted his replacement to have two years to learn the job. “There’s definitely a learning curve,” he said.
Myers said he’s proud of what he’s accomplished as a commissioner, including creating the US 33 bypass around Memorial Drive, and helping people navigate the maze of government and find solutions to their problems. He said he’s leaving the county in good fiscal condition. It’s been a rough few years for all counties economically, said Myers, but he believes Fairfield County is in better financial shape than many of its surrounding counties.
Fairfield County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Steve Davis said Myers’ resignation was unexpected and there’s currently no short list of possible appointees. He said the committee has five to 45 days after Myer’s resignation date Dec. 31 to meet and appoint someone to the position. “I may be a candidate myself,” he said, being clear that he’s made no firm decision. “At this point, there isn’t a list.”
Davis said there’s often rumors and inside knowledge of officials – particularly those in higher offices such as county commissioner – floating about when a position is to be vacated and possible replacements have time to ponder whether they really want the position. Myers’ retirement announcement was so unexpected that Davis predicts it will be several days before hopeful commissioner appointees throw their hats in the ring.
Any way you look at it, Davis said Myers’ resignation is a loss to Fairfield County. “Jon was uniquely qualified in that position,” he said, and all of Myers’ experience leaves with him. On the upside, Davis said county leadership is strong now through every department, so even if the appointee is less experienced, a seasoned staff will be there to show him or her the ropes. “It’s a good environment for someone to come in, even if they’re not as experienced as Jon,” he said.
As mentioned, Shupe will not seek re-election when her term expires. The third incumbent Commissioner Mike Kiger is seeking relection against candidate George Hallarn Nov. 2.
Myers began as Fairfield County Commissioner in 2000, after serving as a state representative since 1992. He was a Lancaster City Council member, serving three years as council president, from 1978 to 1983 and 1989 to 1990.