Liberty Twp. leader unexpectedly resigns

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

LIBERTY TWP. — The recent surprise resignation by the leader of this booming Butler County township has not left the community’s local government rudderless, said trustees.

Liberty Twp. Administrator Jesse Lightle had been in her role less than a year, but township officials recently revealed that, late last month, Lightle informed them she was leaving.

In a letter to the township’s three trustees, who hired her last year, Lightle thanked them for her employment, which came after a long stint as administrator for the Dayton area’s Washington Twp.

“I have decided to pursue other opportunities,” said Lightle, who did not elaborate further nor respond Monday to a request to comment.

Her last day of employment, which began in March 2023, is March 16.

Township Trustee Steve Schramm said Lightle’s decision left him “stunned.”

“There were no indications there were any issues, and we had accomplished so much while she was there,” said Schramm. “She did everything we had wanted and hoped for in her first year.”

“And we were looking forward to a lot more down the road.”

“I honestly don’t know why she is leaving,” he said, adding that such personal decisions are just that — personal.

Prior to Washington Township, Lightle was assistant city manager for the City of Clayton and assistant to the city manager in the City of Centerville.

Trustee Tom Farrell echoed Schramm and added the township has already elevated Assistant Administrator John Lewis as interim administrator while re-activating the previous search firm used to find Lightle to now begin seeking job candidates.

Farrell said despite the unexpected departure, “the good thing is we have a very strong staff with experience and they have been with our township a long time.”

“So we have the utmost confidence they will be able to keep all those balls in the air while we look for new leadership.”

While “it’s never a good situation losing a good leader,” said Farrell, “right now we are ecstatic that we do have such a great staff.”

Farrell also praised Lightle for accomplishing much during her relatively short stint.

He said she is staying on board until March 16 “to make sure we don’t go without leadership” as Lewis moves into the interim administrator role while the search for a new leader proceeds.

Schramm said the trustees, who under Ohio township law hire administrators, are considering both internal and external candidates to fill the open job and estimated a new leader may be in place anywhere from one to three months.

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