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Published: Tuesday, 10/19/2010

Northwood official who rose through ranks to retire

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Pat Bacon already had planned to get a job after her two children were in school.

So when the job came up of secretary to Northwood's mayor and zoning inspector - and administrator, once the village became a city in 1982 - Mrs. Bacon applied. It was good timing, since her husband, Steve, was on temporary layoff from the former Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. in Rossford.

"We were a family of four with an unemployed husband," she recalled. "I needed a job with benefits. It didn't matter what it paid, as long as it had benefits."

Almost exactly 30 years after she started in Northwood's lowest-paying position, Mrs. Bacon is retiring at month's end from the city's highest-paying post, administrator. The 61-year-old has held that job for a decade, after serving in various secretarial and administrative positions.

A retirement open house is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday in the Northwood Municipal Building's Josie Reinhart Community Center at Oram and Wales roads. Her family, including her son, Chad Bacon, and daughter, Amy Adams, are expected to attend.

Dennis Recker, 56, of Whitehouse was hired this month as city administrator. He will be paid about $77,000 a year - the same as Mrs. Bacon.

"Dennis is going to fit in," said Mrs. Bacon, a grandmother who now lives in Lake Township. "He's aware of what's going on, and he's asking the right questions."

Northwood is going through some difficult financial times after income tax revenues started falling. For the first time since Mrs. Bacon started working for Northwood, the city laid off several workers, including three police officers.

Dennis Recker of Whitehouse was recently hired as the new city administrator. Dennis Recker of Whitehouse was recently hired as the new city administrator.
JETTA FRASER / TOLEDO BLADE Enlarge

"That was tough," Mrs. Bacon said.

Voters on Nov. 2 will be asked to raise Northwood's payroll tax by 0.25 percentage point to 1.75 percent. If approved, the increase will raise an additional $500,000 a year.

Much has changed since Mrs. Bacon started with Northwood on Oct. 27, 1980. Northwood still was a village, although it became a city less than 1 1/2 years later after establishing a charter and taking other required steps.

Only one other employee was working for Northwood when it was a village, city police Officer Doug Marshall said.

Population has remained stable of late at about 5,500 people. But housing and industrial developments have cropped up in former farm fields in three decades, and some areas have been annexed to the city. "It's grown, but it's been gradual," she said.

Her husband retired 10 years ago, and the couple plan to travel to see their son, who is in the Air Force in Knoxville, and wherever else appeals to them. Mrs. Bacon would like to stay involved part-time in Wood County, such as with the Northwestern Water & Sewer District.

It doesn't seem as if she is old enough to retire, but it is time, Mrs. Bacon said.

"I don't have any plans and that's because I don't have any expectations, if that makes any sense," she said. "I kind of look at it [ like] maybe it's a new chapter in my life."



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