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Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

St. Marys names Ernst police chief

By Amy Kronenberger
ST. MARYS - A 23-year police veteran has been named the new police chief in St. Marys.
Sergeant Mark Ernst, 48, was appointed the new chief Monday after scoring the highest on the police chief exam taken by Ernst and three other sergeants on Dec. 17 and 18. Ernst will be officially sworn in on Monday during the city council meeting.
Safety service director Greg Foxhoven said he was happy with the results.
"Mark is a talented officer and a top-notch investigator," he said. "He's a very active and involved supervisor, and I'm confident he'll make a fine chief."
Ernst, a Spencerville native, has a master's degree in criminal justice and serves as academy commander at the Wright State University-Lake Campus Police Academy. He also served in the Army with the military police.
Ernst said he was excited to be appointed chief and looks forward to working with his department and the city.
"I was surprised (by the exam results)," he said. "We've got a lot of smart guys and the competition was stiff. But I'm excited to be working with them in this capacity."
Ernst and his family moved to St. Marys when he joined the police department, and he was promoted to sergeant in 2003. His chief's salary will be $65,541.
Seven patrolmen took the sergeant's exam to fill the vacated sergeant's position. Patrolman Chris Green scored the highest and will be sworn in Jan. 6. Green was born in the Buckland area and served with a department in South Carolina before returning to Auglaize County to join the St. Marys police department 12 years ago.
He will make $27 per hour, which includes an education incentive for having his associate's degree in criminal justice. Green also served as a military police officer in the Army.
"I think it's important that everyone knows they're both veterans," Foxhoven said of the new chief and sergeant.
Foxhoven said he received the final results of the exam on Monday. In addition to the written portion, which tested the candidates' knowledge of the job, officers were scored on factors such as seniority, work record and their previous two years of performance evaluations.
The police chief position opened when former chief Foxhoven took over as safety-service director in July. Sergeant Tim Eberle has been acting as chief in the interim.
The exams were administered by Daniel T. Clancy and Associates, Toledo. The administration cost was $10,225 for the tests, textbooks and study materials.
Also on Monday, council's finance committee members Jim Harris, Bill Slemmons and Bob Fitzgerald met to review the end-of-year supplemental appropriations request. Foxhoven requested an additional $444,000 to cover expenses through the end of the year.
He said $400,000 of his request would cover power costs.
Law director Kraig Noble said the additional power needs is a good sign the city is moving in the right direction. He said an increase in power usage means an increase in production, which means an increase in jobs and an increase in income tax revenue.
Foxhoven also requested an additional $20,000 to cover demolition costs of five structures in St. Marys until the city is reimbursed with the Moving Ohio Forward Grant.
The remaining $24,000 will cover miscellaneous, end-of-year housekeeping items that will ensure funds through the end of the year, Foxhoven said. Council president Dan Hoelscher said the items are standard end-of-year appropriations and tie up all the loose ends.
The committee will recommend the appropriations to full council during its next regular meeting at 5 p.m. Monday at the municipal building.
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CELINA - Mercer County Commissioners this morning approved action to place a tax levy on the ballot in May to support the disabled.
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