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Thornville hires new administrator

THORNVILLE – New Lexington property maintenance code enforcement officer Chad Wilkins will be Thornville’s new village administrator. He replaces Ron Koehler, who retires at the end of May. Wilkins is also a Hopewell Township Trustee.

“I’m excited to get started,” said Wilkins, who was chosen from more than 30 applicants for the position. He begins June 1. Wilkins, who lives in Glenford, said he expects a learning curve, but his experience working for New Lexington and as a trustee should be very helpful to him as gets to know the administrator’s position. He said he’ll be working with Koehler the rest of the month as time allows to become familiar with Thornville and its projects.

Thornville Mayor Gavin Renner said that after much debate, council members decided the new administrator’s position should be full time. “That’ll be a change to the village,” he said. The position was advertised to pay between $35,000 and $45,000 annually and Renner said Wilkins will fall within that range.

Renner said council members were impressed with Wilkins’ connections with people on the state level and between his work with New Lexington and his experience as a township trustee. They believe Wilkins is very familiar with village management. Also, Renner said Wilkins’ personality should be a good match with the village. He said when Wilkins begins his job, he’ll face inflow and infiltration issues with the village’s sewer system, water tower maintenance, and many road projects. “There’s really a lot of project work,” said Renner. “He’ll be jumping right in.”

Renner said previously the demands of the administrator’s position are pretty high because they include not only hands-on work, but also coordination and management of the village’s water treatment and wastewater treatment plants. Additionally, there is planning and coordination for street maintenance projects and the village administrator supervises several employees on a daily basis.

Renner said Koehler has basically worked full-time hours even though he was only being paid for part-time. “He’s been very dedicated to the village,” said Renner. Koehler has worked for Thornville since 2005. Initially, he was interim village administrator under former mayor Dale Brussee and later took the job on a part-time, permanent basis under former mayor Beth Patrick.

Renner said Koehler’s been spending many of his last days on the job preparing the Thornville pool to open May 22. He said he appreciated Koehler’s willingness to volunteer hours when his paid hours were exhausted for the week.

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