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Licking Township to fill trustee vacancy

JACKSONTOWN – Registered voters living in Licking Township have until Saturday, Feb. 14 to toss their hat in the ring to fill the remaining 11 months of Joe Cooper’s term.

About two years ago, Cooper and his wife started looking for land in Tennessee for a retirement home. After they bought land in mountainous Polk County, Cooper told fellow trustees Joe Hart and Dave Miller that he would be resigning once they sold their Licking Township home. After months on the market, the home sold and the sale closed January 30. Cooper planned to tell trustees Monday night of the closing and his plan to resign at the February 17 meeting. They have possession of the home for 30 days after the closing.

Discussions with the county prosecutor’s office quickly changed that time line. An assistant prosecutor said the clock on the 30 days trustees have to fill a vacancy started with the January 30 closing. If trustees fail to fill the vacancy in 30 days, a committee consisting of five voters who signed Cooper’s last petition for office gets 10 days to choose a replacement. If that deadline isn’t met, a judge will make the choice.

Hart and Miller believe they can make the best choice and have set a timetable to do so. Cooper resigned effective January 30. Any Licking Township registered voter interested in being considered for this appointment should submit a written letter of interest with detailed background information by Saturday, February 14, 2009 to: Board of Licking Township Trustees, P.O. Box 222, Jacksontown, Ohio 43030.

Trustees’ next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17 due to the Presidents Day holiday. They will review the letters of interest in executive session and then decide in open session which candidates to invite to a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 23. Selected candidates will be interviewed during an executive session and trustees expect to make their selection in an open session that night. Their 30 day window runs out Sunday, March. 1.

Both Hart and Miller thanked Cooper for his service. “I thanked him as a resident and a trustee for the past year for his seven years of service to the residents of Licking Township in promoting and improving changes to our zoning and his recent efforts to get past text and map change properly recorded,” Hart told The Beacon. Miller noted that Cooper started the township’s annual cleanup effort which will be continued.

“There are a lot of things not done, but I believe things will continue to improve,” Cooper told The Beacon. “I feel good about the future of the township.”

He added that his seven years as a trustee was a very rewarding experience.

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