Saturday, Oct 22, 2016
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Hancock Regional Planning Commission director is fired

FINDLAY — The director of the Hancock Regional Planning Commission has been fired by the board’s executive committee, though the committee is saying little about why.

William Homka, former chief planner for the Toledo-Lucas County Planning Commission, had led the agency in Findlay since 2004.

“It is unfortunate, however, the commission, taking into account all facts and circumstances of this matter that have transpired over time, is hereby terminating the employment of William M. Homka effective immediately,” Herb Stump, president of the commission, and Christie Ranzau, vice president, said in a letter delivered to the county commissioners Tuesday.

Mr. Stump, a Liberty Township trustee, declined to comment. He said he would make a comment “with my legal adviser and he’ll be back in town on Monday.”

Mr. Homka could not be reached Wednesday. He recently came under fire when it was learned that Findlay and Hancock County had been ordered to repay more than $250,000 in grant money to the Ohio Department of Development because they failed to complete environmental reviews before beginning the road and bridge projects the grants partially funded.

Hancock County Commissioner Ed Ingold, who sits on the planning commission board, said the grant issue may have played a part in Mr. Homka’s firing, but he suspects there was more to it than that.

“There have been personality conflicts of various natures,” said Mr. Ingold, who worked as interim director of the planning commission before Mr. Homka’s hiring. “The job is a difficult job because like some elected officials you have to tell people no. The rules are the rules.”

Mr. Ingold said he was surprised the executive committee chose to fire Mr. Homka. He hoped they could work out their differences.

“Bil is a very intelligent man,” he said. “He knew subdivision law. He knew the state ordinances, and he knew city government ordinances.”

Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik, who worked as grants administrator for the planning commission before her election as mayor, said she had "not been given any specifics on his termination."

“Bil is a very talented planner,” she said. “He was great to work with at regional planning and he’s still a friend. It’s sad to see his departure.”

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