POMEROY — Acting Mayor Don Anderson presided over a 90-minute session of Pomeroy Village Council on Monday evening, his first in the position since the resignation of Bryan Shank.
Much of the 15 item agenda of council business centered on filling recently vacated positions; Mayor Bryan Shank, Councilperson Ruth Spaun, and Village Administrator Joe Woodall tendered resignations in a prior meeting, while Building Inspector Clayton Taylor filed his shortly after.
As reported in the Tuesday edition of the Sentinel, John Musser was selected to fill an open council position, while nominees for the other vacancy (created when then Council President Anderson shifted to Mayor) were tabled pending a deeper search.
Several council members voiced enthusiasm for Musser’s appointment.
Following a brief executive session near the end of the meeting, Anderson announced Joe Witherell had been chosen to become the new Pomeroy Village Administrator.
Witherell, who is expected to begin in approximately three weeks, currently serves as a wastewater operator in Gallipolis.
The new administrator has a monetary incentive for additional certifications required to become Pomeroy’s Water Operator of Record. Anderson also announced Joe Woodall will continue to serve in that capacity for the village as Witherell gets up to speed.
What was expected to be a prolonged search (based on previous hiring attempts) concluded in under two weeks, and avoided an array of issues provoked by an absent department head.
Anderson credited a positive council environment, outgoing Administrator Woodall’s presence, and Witherell’s history of workplace advancement, for the welcomely quick hiring.
“We have a village administrator,” said Anderson, which was greeted with excited hubbub and applause by those in attendance.
Council held a discussion on the role and future expectations of the building inspector position, and Anderson proposed “it should be under the auspices of the police, because it is an enforcement position.” He also considered safety issues and increased authority presence.
Police Chief Mark Proffitt supported the restructuring, saying of recent efforts to step up code enforcement “people have been mostly cooperative, but someone has to ask them to do it.”
Councilperson Vic Young also supported that move.
“We need someone who will put some teeth in it. Not to be rude to the public, but someone who can be firm and write a ticket,” said Young.
More assertive code enforcement has been a discussion topic in several previous council meetings.
“That’s a really important position for the village, we should advertise and search and get a good one,” said Anderson.
“As much as we’d like to get started, we need the right person,” he continued.
Councilperson Phil Ohlinger commented on the variety of expertise a building inspector needed to properly execute the job, saying “It is definitely a position of many hats. In the meantime, we have ordinances and we can enforce them.”
Michael Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.