POMEROY — Following a lengthy executive session during the Feb. 6 meeting of Pomeroy Village Council, Mayor Brian Shank announced “we have discussed it, and pending a vote, I am going to appoint Joe Woodall to be a part time village administrator.”
The following unanimous vote made Woodall the head of Public Works and Operator of Record for Pomeroy, a role he already holds full time for the Village of Middleport.
Woodall, speaking in an interview with the Sentinel, said “It’s a lot of hours, definitely,” but that he was willing to take on the added responsibilities because “My main concern is to provide safe and pleasant drinking water for citizens of Pomeroy, and to ensure EPA compliance.”
The village administrator has a variety of responsibilities outlined in the Ohio Revised Code, which include overseeing the “Operator of Record” for water and sewer systems. Woodall said an Operator of Record is “an Ohio licensed EPA operator responsible for compliance and reporting,” and are typically the same individual in smaller villages.
Woodall will initially be the full director of the Public Works department in Pomeroy, though the council did discuss potentially moving some Public Works responsibilities into a separate position.
Such a partition would allow him to “focus on the water plant, on the sewer plant. Because running the treatment plants is demanding. Distribution and collection systems take a lot time to manage,” said Woodall.
Pomeroy has been without an administrator since Paul Hellman left in late spring/early summer 2016.
Price increases in water and sewer service since that time have provoked questions from Pomeroy residents about the lack of a water department head, and whether that lack of management ultimately resulted in unfair burdens on Pomeroy residents.
The council has maintained in several sessions that a number of measures were pending to improve Pomeroy’s water system, but “right at the time increases went into effect, we lost our water superintendent,” said Councilperson Ohlinger.
Referring to the many water related issues brought before Council by residents and media in recent weeks, Council President Don Anderson stated, “Every one of them are going to get looked at.”
Michael Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.