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Published: Tuesday, 2/6/2007

Delta's council overrides mayor on new position

DELTA, Ohio - With the narrowest vote margin possible, Delta Village Council last night overrode the first veto that Mayor Don Gerdes has cast in his 10 years in office and moved ahead with separating the water and wastewater superintendent position into two jobs.

"That will become law without my signature, because I still won't sign it," the mayor said after the meeting, in which his veto was overridden by a 4-2 council vote. "Because I still don't believe in it. I think it's a waste of money, and all these personal little conflicts need to end."

He said he thought some council members have personal conflicts with Larry Born, who has held both the water and wastewater superintendencies since mid-2004, and was water superintendent only before that.

The mayor issued a two-page written statement to council predicting that separating the position into two jobs would cost the village an extra $60,000 to $80,000 annually.

Dan Miller, council president, said he expects council to keep Mr. Born as water superintendent, perhaps at a reduced salary, and to advertise for a part-time wastewater superintendent.

"He's one person trying to handle two operations, and he's stressing," Mr. Miller said, adding that the village's water and wastewater treatment plants are about 3 1/2 miles apart.

Mr. Miller said costs of operating the water and wastewater plants have spiked in recent years and he thought more supervision at each plant would help control expenditures.

Last night, council overrode the mayor's veto with Paul Fournier and Marcy LeFevre dissenting. Council had originally approved the ordinance on Jan. 22 with a 5-1 vote, to which Ms. LeFevre dissented.

Also last night, the mayor called a special council meeting for 7:30 p.m. today for council to consider hiring a village administrator.

Council will interview, for the second time, Ken Knuth, the administrator of the Huron County village of Monroeville, Ohio, for two years who previously held several positions in Olmsted Falls, near Cleveland.

The mayor said council might extend a tentative offer to Mr. Knuth tonight, or it might decide to interview other candidates for a second time. Village leaders have conducted initial interviews with Kirk Kern, a former assistant administrator in Waterville, and Richard Reinbolt, the former finance director of Ottawa Hills.

The current village administrator Gary Baker, is retiring at the end of this month. He said he will move to Williams County this weekend, where he has agreed to become the part-time village administrator of Holiday City, Ohio, starting May 1.



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