Next year will see a pair of vacant seats on the Union County Board of Commissioners.
Current commissioners Charles Hall and Steve Stolte have each announced they will not seek reelection.
Both cited age as a primary factor. Hall, who has served for 16 years, said he would be 79 years old when his term begins.
“I have had, the last year and a half, some health issues and it is just time,” he added.
Stolte, who was first appointed in 2011, said he will soon turn 74 years old.
“I think it is time to move on,” Stolte said. “I think it is time for someone else to step in here.”
Stolte said that he initially planned to run in 2012, but not in 2016. He said that because the decision must be made so quickly, there were things he wanted to see through so he ran again in 2016.
“But that’s true now. There is stuff coming down the pipe that I would like to be a part of, but that will always be the case, so you just have to make the decision that it is time to move on, to step away and let someone else do it.”
Even so, both men say they feel they are leaving the county in a position to be successful.
“We are working very hard to keep the county in a strong position for the coming years,” Hall said.
He added, “I feel good that we have had the opportunity to keep our buildings up to date.”
Hall credited Stolte with moving the county forward. He said that before Stolte the commissioners were often, “just reacting.”
“With his knowledge and fortitude, we have taken some steps to make this sustainable for years to come,” Hall said.
Both men said they are often asked about the job of commissioner and how much time commitment it takes.
Hall said the job of commissioner is “getting to be more and more a full-time job.”
“You can spend as many hours on this job as you want to,” Stolte said.
“And if you don’t spend the hours, you fall behind,” Hall said.
That is part of the reason Stolte said he wants to move on. He said he would like to travel with his wife. He would like to read for fun. He wants to spend time with his granddaughter.
Hall and Stolte each said they recognize there will not be much experience on the board of commissioners. Commissioner Chris Schmenk took office earlier this year.
“I would express concern for the situation if not for the man in this chair,” Hall said, pointing to the chair of County Administrator Tim Hansley. “He and Tish (Deputy County Administrator and Budget Officer Letitia Rayl) are great people that can help lead this board. That is an absolute. Tim’s experience and Tish’s knowledge of the county and of the budget is exceptional.”
Stolte said he has “a concern that we have two of us leaving at the same time.”
“But Chris is a go getter. She is not afraid to ask questions. She is not afraid to jump in there and get things done,” Stolte said.
Hall added that Schmenk is “exceptional,” specifically mentioning her love of the county, her statewide contacts and her knowledge of the law.
Stolte and Hall have separate seats. Stolte’s seat takes office Jan. 2. Hall’s replacement will take office Jan. 3.
The deadline for party candidates to file for either seat is Dec. 18, 2019. The primary for the position will be held March 17, 2020. Independent candidates filing for either position must file by March 16, 2020. The general election will be held Nov. 2, 2020.
As of Monday, Republicans Dave Burke and Ken Gordon have taken a petition to run for Stolte’s seat. Only Burke has filed his petition.
Republicans Rod Goddard, J.R. Rausch, Steve Robinson, Charles Will and Kim Zacharias have each taken petitions to run for Hall’s seat. Rausch and Robinson have filed their petitions.
Republicans Mark Meyer and Andrew Smarra, Jr., along with Democrat Tony Eufinger have taken petitions but have not specified if they will be running for the Jan. 2 position or the Jan. 3 position.
Hall and Stolte each said despite all the changes, Union County is still an agrarian community.
“This board has always had…someone with a tie to the farming community, somehow,” Hall said. “I hope the voters of the county recognize that.”
Stolte said the commissioners make decisions that impact “rural people and rural land.”
“That third person has to come from outside the City of Marysville and I think needs to have an ag background.”
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