Meet Monroe’s first new mayor in 16 years

Monroe has a new mayor for the first time since 2004.

Councilman Jason Frentzel, who was re-elected to a second four-year term in November, was appointed Thursday as the city’s mayor for the next two years. He succeeds mayor Robert Routson, who has served as mayor for the past 16 years.

Also selected to lead council as the vice mayor was Councilman Keith Funk, who was also re-elected to a new term in November.

Councilwoman Christina McElfresh, who was appointed to a vacant council seat two years ago, was sworn in to a four-year term, and newly elected Councilman Tom Callahan was also sworn in by Judge Robert Hendrickson of the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals.

Frentzel said he thought Routson did a great job as mayor, but he was approached by some other council members before last week’s meeting about becoming mayor.

MORE: Driver dies after crash on Verity Parkway

“I met and talked with them and saw I had a majority,” Frentzel said.

However, he said he did not talk with Routson about becoming mayor.

“I thought he was going to run again for mayor,” Frentzel said. “No one was asked to support him.”

Frentzel said that “it may have been my mistake not to have talked to him, but I’m happy with the results.”

He said he hopes Routson will be able to provide him with guidance to get set in the right direction as he gets himself settled into his new role.

“I want to continue help Monroe become a better place to live and for businesses to grow,” Frentzel said.

During the reorganization session, McElfresh nominated Frentzel as mayor, which was seconded by Councilwoman Anna Hale. Council voted 4-3 to appoint Frentzel with Routson, Funk and Councilman Todd Hickman voting no.

Funk was nominated by Frentzel, with Hickman casting the lone no vote.

Frentzel, 39, said he had a longtime interest in how the city has been run. He and his family’s tradition of giving back to the community sparked his interest in running for a council seat four years ago.

The Heritage Green Drive resident said over the course of his first council term he has learned a lot and better understands how the city works. Prior to his election in 2015, Frentzel was a regular attendee of council meetings even before his first council term, during which he said he learned plenty.

“It took a year for me to get my feet underneath me,” Frentzel said.

He said the biggest issue facing Monroe is how to allocate undeveloped land in the city. Frentzel said there is a lot of negotiating behind the scenes and that city needs to work with the Monroe school district if tax incentives are used. He also said city officials should also find ways to develop partnerships to provide more amenities to residents.

“There have been things that have come up with the old master plan,” he said. “The new comprehensive master plan will determine the next steps.”

Frentzel said completing the new comprehensive master plan, continuing the development of the new parks and getting the new police facility completed are top projects in the coming year.

Jason Frentzel

Age: 39

Employment: Pioneer Cladding & Glazing in Mason

Family: Single

Residency: 35 years, born and raised in Monroe

Other: Elected to Monroe City Council in 2015; Monroe Rotary Club member; Warren County Municipal League/Monroe representative

Education: Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering technology from the University of Dayton; graduate of Bishop Fenwick High School

Keith Funk

Age: 35

Employment: Product development manager at Fisher Group in Fairfield

Family: Married; four children

Residency: Seven years in Monroe

Other: Elected to Monroe City Council in 2015; Monroe representative to the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments; president of the Monroe Community Improvement Corporation. He is the former business manager for the Mason Parks and Recreation Department

Education: Colerain High School graduate; Cincinnati State College associate's degree in marketing; University of Phoenix bachelor's degree in management; Xavier University master's degree in business administration

About the Author