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Friday, January 4th, 2008

Joseph appointed Rockford mayor

Former council member takes roller coaster ride to the top

By William Kincaid
Amy Joseph came to the village council meeting on Wednesday night as a public attendant but walked out as the new mayor of Rockford.
Mayor Robert King announced his resignation in early December, just weeks after being re-elected in the November election. King said he needed to retire to gain public retirement benefits and was hoping council eventually would re-appoint him as mayor.
Joseph, who was council president and whose term expired in 2007, temporarily took over the mayor's position until Dec. 31.
On Wednesday night, council members started the first meeting of the year with no mayor and a vacant council seat.
Councilman Greg Pontsler, who ran unopposed in November, was sworn in to his position before nominations were taken to fill Joseph's council seat. Joseph and Rockford resident Todd McKee both were nominated.
A ballot vote showed Joseph won the council seat with three votes. Joseph then was sworn in as a council member and soon after also was voted in as council president. Village Solicitor Judy Koesters had told councilors whoever is elected council president for 2008 will become the next mayor, according to Ohio Revised Code.
Joseph unsuccessfully ran for the mayor's seat in a tight race in November against King and Councilman Eugene Steiner.
Joseph's term as council president was short-lived, as according to law, she automatically became mayor since the elected mayor resigned. Joseph will be mayor until the next general election in 2009, when the position will be voted on by Rockford residents.
Council members then nominated councilors Ron Searight and Steiner for the council president position, as Joseph had assumed the mayor position. Searight was victorious over Steiner with a 3-2 vote.
With Joseph as mayor, council still had an open seat and unanimously approved the appointment of McKee as the new village council member.
According to his resume, McKee is a customer service manager at BAE Systems, Fort Wayne, Ind., and a graduate of Illinois State University with a bachelor's degree in economics.
In King's resignation letter in December, he wrote that he needed to be out of any elected position for two months in order to gain his public retirement benefits. The village solicitor at that time said that could not happen because council cannot go without a mayor for two months.
Village Administrator Jeff Long had said the village's mayor's court - which usually brings in around $600 a month - could be suspended until as long as February until a new mayor takes power and receives the required-six-hour training to conduct the court.
Joseph will appoint council committees at the next meeting on Jan. 13.
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