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Friday, November 16th, 2012

Council president requests retire-rehire

By Amy Kronenberger
ST. MARYS - Longtime council president Dan Hoelscher wants to retire and be re-appointed to his council post so he can begin collecting public retirement funds.
In a letter this week to Auglaize County Board of Elections and St. Marys city officials, Hoelscher said he will retire from council and his full-time job at Crown Equipment Corp. at the end of this year.
"I would also like to activate my PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) benefits at the same time," he wrote. "In order to do this, I am required to resign my position as president of the city council."
He is asking the Republican Central Committee to re-appoint him to finish his term, which ends Dec. 31, 2013.
"I have truly enjoyed serving the citizens of St. Marys over the last 20 years and would like to continue," he wrote.
Ohio law states a public employee or elected official can return to a public position after retirement and continue collecting the position's pay and retirement benefits. Council members are paid $5,000 per year and 10 percent is deducted from their paychecks to pay for retirement benefits. The city also contributes 14 percent toward benefits.
Mayor Pat McGowan said he hopes the committee chooses to reappoint Hoelscher.
"I hope Dan comes back because he's a real asset to the community," he said. "I really like the way he handles business during meetings."
The council president presides over all council meetings and acts as moderator. He only casts a vote in the event of a tie.
Republican Central Committee member and city law director Kraig Noble said the five-member committee, representing the five precincts of St. Marys, will vote on the vacancy during a public hearing.
"I certainly would have no problem with (reappointing Hoelscher); he's done a fine job," Noble said. "But I'm not speaking for all of the committee members; I'm just one of the five."
Noble said he will confer with the secretary of state's office on whether the committee must wait to vote on a replacement until after the vacancy becomes official.
When the time comes, Hoelscher would have to go through the regular appointment process and could face a challenger if someone comes forward, Noble said. If the committee chooses to appoint another person as president, Hoelscher promised he would not run against that person in the next election.
Additional online story on this date
FORT RECOVERY - Growing up next to the railway has made a lifelong impact on Tom Zitter.
Zitter, president of Big K Mills, plans to lay roughly a mile of track around his rural Fort Recovery property for a locomotive he is restoring and five train cars he is recreating. [More]
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