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Published: Tuesday, 10/12/2010

Long-time county official steps down to become Sylvania Township administrator

BLADE STAFF

John Zeitler, Lucas County's long-time director of management and budget, said Tuesday he will leave his post at the end of October to become the Sylvania Township administrator.

Mr. Zeitler handed his letter of resignation to county commissioners Tuesday morning following their weekly meeting. The director — who has worked in the county's budget office for 31 years and as its director for 26 of those years — said he took the job with Sylvania Township because he was looking for a change.

"I'm sad at leaving but I'm excited. It's a challenge. I'm looking forward to it," said the director, who lives in Sylvania. "This is something that would challenge me, it's my local community. I feel I can make a difference out there."

Mr. Zeitler's resignation comes at a time when the county is struggling with huge budget deficits and has been forced to cut expenses, including through staff layoffs and voluntary furlough days. The director, himself on a furlough day Tuesday, said the last several years have been the most difficult he's experienced while working for the county. However, he said the current economic challenges are not the reason for his departure.

In his new position, set to begin Nov. 8, Mr. Zeitler will succeed former Sylvania Township administrator Hugh Thomas who was fired by township trustees July 6. Trustees said they were dissatisfied with Mr. Thomas' communication of issues with the construction of township Fire Station No. 3, which opened in late June.

Trustees are still working to replace the township's fire chief and police chief, who both stepped down in the last month.

Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon-Wozniak expressed sadness at Mr. Zeitler's departure and praised his management of the county's budget department.

"He's had a stellar career," Ms. Wozniak said. "Probably nothing was more difficult than the last several years... he was very poised through that process."

She said no successor has been chosen yet but the county will likely look for an internal candidate.



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