Perrysburg Township officials have to replace yet another person in a key role, but this time the circumstance is a happy one brought on by the appointment of Walter Celley as administrator.
Mr. Celley has been the township law director for more than three years. The board of trustees last week named him to replace retiring administrator John Hrosko.
“He really brought to us all the attributes that we were looking for,” trustee chairman Robert Mack said.
Mr. Celley, 60, of Perrysburg, said he has expertise in the formation of economic development areas, has worked in agribusiness, and is well-versed in township legal matters, having served Henry Township in Wood County and Waterville and Monclova townships in Lucas County.
A new law director will be named for Perrysburg Township, as required by its home-rule charter. However, as administrator, Mr. Celley can advise the staff on many legal matters and save money on billable hours, according to trustees.
The township will have the benefit of Mr. Celley’s body of knowledge “in house,” he said.
A law director drafts resolutions, issues statutory notices in matters such as nuisance properties, and represents the township in any litigation, and also does research needed for other business, the incoming administrator said.
“The public is very creative at finding ways to challenge its local government,” he said.
The law firm Spengler Nathanson still is to be retained for legal counsel on labor negotiations and other employment matters, he said.
Mr. Celley has been in private practice since 1989, graduating magna cum laude from the University of Toledo’s law school. He first worked for Judge John Potter in U.S. District Court in Toledo. He formed the firm Celley & Sanderson LLP, which he said he will be leaving to partner Dawn Sanderson as he assumes his new role.
He has a degree in agribusiness from Owens Community College and has worked for The Andersons and Cargill as a grain inspector and ship and train loader. He received a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and is a graduate of Bowsher High School.
Mr. Celley said he was looking forward to working with Perrysburg Township’s leaders and staff.
“The department heads are professionals. They’re longtime township employees. They’re just really good people,” he said.
Perrysburg Township, like all government entities and even individual households, is faced with the demand to do more with fewer resources, Mr. Celley said.
He said the trustees had made good business decisions and understood well the economic realities of the time.
“My challenge is basically to keep a good thing going,” he said.
He had particular praise for fiscal officer Shirley Haar.
“She’s very diligent. She knows what she’s doing, and she’s willing to learn,” he said.
The Perrysburg Township board of trustees next meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Mr. Celley’s first day as administrator.
He will be paid an annual salary of $85,000.
Other senior township officials who retired at the end of the year were police Chief Mark Hetrick and Zoning Inspector Grant Garn.