Elected to Butler County office? Not these 16 people

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

What you should know about four Butler County officials who died while in office.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The appointments of Fairfield City Council member Leslie Besl and Ohio Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., last month marked the 15th and 16th times an elected official has been appointed into office in Butler County since 2015.

While that is less than 10 percent of all Butler County offices, which includes three state representatives and one state senator, it shows a “remarkably high degree of change in local officeholders in a short amount of time,” said Miami University Regionals political science professor John Forren.

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Eleven of the vacancies were created in 2016, while four were created in 2017 and one in 2015.

“It remains to be seen, though, whether that makes much difference in terms of the levels of competition in upcoming elections,” Forren said.

New appointees generally have a leg up when they face voters for the first time because they do have the incumbent’s advantage, Forren said. However, newly appointed officeholders “often attract stronger challengers.”

Here are some of the reasons why vacancies happened, and who eventually filled the recent openings:

Death: There have been four office holders who died while serving an active term.

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Craig Hedric died on Nov. 13, 2016, and was succeeded by attorney Greg Howard on Feb. 27.

Fairfield School Board member Jerome Kearns died on Dec. 20, 2016, and was succeeded by Carrie O'Neal on Jan. 12.

Middletown Municipal Judge Mark Wall died on Feb. 11 and Melynda Cook Howard was sworn into his office June 16.

Fairfield City Councilman Bob Myron died on July 19, 2017 and Leslie Besl succeeded him on City Council on Sept. 11.

Retirement: There were three elected officials who stepped down before the end of their terms due to retirements.

Former Butler County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Oney retired on Jan. 31, 2016. Ohio's age requirement for a judge would not have allowed Oney to seek a fourth six-year term and she stepped down a year before her term would have ended. Greg Stephens succeeded her and took office on March 14, 2016.

Hanover Twp. Fiscal Officer Elizabeth Broisus stepped down on Aug. 31, 2015, telling township officials she wanted to retire from public service, said township Administrator Bruce Henry. Trustees appointed Greg Sullivan to fill her remaining time on her term and he was elected to his first term in November 2015.

Oxford Twp. Trustee Larry Frimerman resigned his seat on Nov. 30, 2016, in order to retire, said Gary Salmon, township trustee president. Norma Pennock was appointed to fill his term, which ends this year, and is seeking election in November.

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No reason given or personal reasons: Three people who resigned did not provide a reason, and two cited personal reasons. Four of these five elected officials resigned in 2016 while one stepped down in 2017.

Chad Downey was appointed to the New Miami Village Council in May 2017 after Kenneth Cheek did not offer a reason when he resigned his council seat in November 2016.

Susan Berding was appointed to the Fairfield Twp. Trustees Board April 2016 after John McGinnis resigned for personal reasons his trustee seat in February 2016.

Jamie Marlow was appointed to the New Miami Village Council in September 2016 after Dennis Rapier did not offer a reason when he resigned his council seat in August 2016.

Connie Lovins was appointed as the Morgan Twp. fiscal officer in September 2016 after Lila Robertson did not offer a reason when she resigned her seat in July 2016.

Sean Van Winkle was appointed to the Ross School Board in May 2017 after Steve Stitsinger resigned for personal reasons his seat in April 2017.

Higher office: Lang was the lone official to be appointed to a higher office. He resigned his West Chester Twp. seat on Sept. 13, 2017, the same day he was appointed to former Ohio Rep. Margy Conditt's 52nd Ohio House District seat.

Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, was appointed to her 53rd Ohio House District in Nov. 16, 2016, and filled out the remaining weeks of former Ohio Rep. Tim Derickson's term. Derickson, R-Liberty Twp. was term limited and resigned in August as he was hired to be the state funeral board director, a position he held for less than a year before being hired as the Ohio Department of Agriculture's assistant director.

New work or moved: Former Fairfield First Ward councilman Adam Jones resigned in April 2016 because he moved out of the city's first ward. Myron was appointed on May 31, 2016, to succeed him.

Oxford Twp. Fiscal Officer James Rowan resigned on Sept. 30, 2016, due to a new job in Columbus and Shaunna Tafelski was appointed and is seeking election this November to fill the unexpired term that ends on April 1, 2020.

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