3 Perrysburg Twp. officials set to retire

All say change in pension law prompted move

John Hrosko, Perrysburg Township’s first administrator, is retiring at the end of the year after serving in his post since 2003. He said that despite the difficult economy, the township is sound financially.
John Hrosko, Perrysburg Township’s first administrator, is retiring at the end of the year after serving in his post since 2003. He said that despite the difficult economy, the township is sound financially.

Even though three senior officials are retiring at the end of this year, Perrysburg Township is well positioned to handle the transition, the trustee chairman said.

“None of them we expected so soon, but we certainly have a game plan,” Robert Mack said of the retirements of Administrator John Hrosko, police Chief Mark Hetrick, and Zoning Inspector Grant Garn.

Township trustees appointed police Lt. James Pellek, Jr., as acting chief, and Kelly Hemminger recently had been hired as zoning administrator when Mr. Garn went on medical leave at the end of last month.

A special meeting is set for 8 a.m. Thursday at the township hall for the trustees to discuss filling the administrator post.

As a home-rule government, Perrysburg Township is required to have an administrator. In a vacancy, the board chairman can be interim administrator or one can be appointed, Mr. Mack said.

Trustee Craig LaHote is the incoming board chairman for 2013.

Each of the retiring officials said he rushed his plans to retire when Ohio’s Public Employment Retirement System was reformed.

The state legislature in September made significant changes to the pension law, which goes into effect Jan. 7, including raising age and service limits for retirement eligibility as well as changing the salary calculation.

Chief Hetrick said he, like many public employees, stood to lose quite a bit of money if he did not retire now.

Although the chief’s retirement was somewhat expected, the trustees were slightly unprepared for Mr. Hrosko’s resignation. But they took it in stride, Mr. Mack said.

“There’s not a single one of us who said, ‘Oh gee, John, why did you do that to us?’ ” he said.

Mr. Hrosko is the township’s first administrator. After election as clerk in 1999, he was hired as the administrator in 2003. “I always viewed this job as being a representative of the trustees,” he said.

One issue the township is engaged in with its neighbors — the cities of Perrysburg, Rossford, and other Wood County communities — is talks about implementing centralized dispatching for emergency services.

Annexation agreements and budget tightening also remain critical priorities for the administrative office, Mr. Mack said, as well as dealing with union contracts and staff promotions.

Managing technology platforms and finding the best health-insurance benefits will be other key jobs for an incoming administrator, he said.

Mr. Hrosko said the trustees have made wise fiscal decisions during a difficult economy. “Financially, the township is sound,” he said.

Mr. Mack and Mr. Hrosko said the office could operate without skipping a beat because of the dedication of its staff — fiscal officer Shirley Haar, administrative assistant Rosanna Violi, and payroll specialist Becky Johnson.

“We’re so fortunate. They all know where they need to fill in,” Mr. Mack said.

Ms. Hemminger had been head of the zoning office for about a week when Mr. Garn submitted his letter to Mr. Hrosko announcing his intention to retire.

Although she’s somewhat familiar with the area because she had been a planner with the Wood County zoning commission, Mr. Garn’s knowledge of the township is invaluable, she said.

“I was hoping I would get to work with him for a little while,” she said. “Hopefully he’ll still let me bug him on a few things.”

Trustee Gary Britten said Chief Hetrick is leaving a police department that had become more united and has engendered a higher morale.

“He’s done a wonderful job for us,” he said, though he added that the credit must be shared with the rest of the department’s command staff.

Visit OurTownPerrysburg.com throughout the week for individual profiles on Mr. Hrosko, Chief Hetrick, and Mr. Garn.