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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

School board chief to lead St. Henry

Ron Gelhaus will depart school elected office for village is top spot

By Shelley Grieshop
ST. HENRY - The community is losing a school board president but gaining a new village administrator, following action Monday night in council chambers.
Ron Gelhaus was appointed to the full-time position of village administrator following a brief executive session by council members during their regular meeting. Just one week ago, Gelhaus was appointed president of the St. Henry schools board of education.
The 49-year-old St. Henry native said he was honored to be selected as village administrator and feels obligated to vacate his seat on the school board.
"I regretfully have to resign from the board of education. I feel it's a possible conflict of interest," he said. "With the new job ... I want to be totally focused."
Gelhaus is beginning his fourth year on the school board. He initially was appointed to fill a two-year unexpired term before being elected by voters to his current four-year term. The school board will have 30 days upon receiving his formal letter of resignation to fill his unexpired term.
The next school board meeting is 7 p.m. Feb. 21.
Mayor Jeff Mescher said an ordinance with the terms of Gelhaus' employment - including his salary - will be introduced at the next village council meeting at 8 p.m. Feb. 14.
Gelhaus works as a senior project manager for Ayers Mechanical Group in Van Wert. Prior to his 13 years at Ayers, he worked 13 years at Ohio Plumbing and Electric in Celina.
"I'm a plumber by trade," he said.
The council's finance committee reviewed 13 applications for the village administrator position before narrowing the field to six. Two of the six applicants were village council members, Steve Koesters and Dennis Rindler. Both men abstained from voting when a motion to appoint Gelhaus was made Monday night.
Gelhaus will begin the new post in a week or two and will learn the ropes from retiring administrator Don Hess.
"I'll get some great shadowing time with him," he said.
Hess, who worked for the village for 32 years, will officially retire May 31, he told council members Monday.
Gelhaus said he's excited about working in the town where he was born and raised.
"I'm just thrilled to have the opportunity to work where I grew up. It's a great area, a great community," he said.
In other business Monday, council members:
• Approved a third and final reading for the village's 2011 budget at $3.1 million.
• Heard Mescher's 2010 state of the village report with a recap of projects completed and new businesses formed. He also thanked all village employees for their service and declared the town "financially stable."
• Learned the village will begin advertising for seasonal part-time help for the swimming pool and parks.
• Learned the town on Saturday was awarded a plaque from representatives of Eldora Speedway for "continuing support and loyalty" to the racing program. At various times throughout the year, the village partners with race officials for promotional activities.
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