Newest Fairfield City Council members sworn in, face decisions on fire levy

Mitch Rhodus is sworn in as Fairfield mayor by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith M. Spaeth during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Mitch Rhodus is sworn in as Fairfield mayor by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith M. Spaeth during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The three new Fairfield City Council members and the city’s new mayor will have less than two weeks before discussing the fate of the city’s fire department.

Council members-elect Gwen Brill, Matthew Davidson, and Tim Meyers, and Mayor-elect Mitch Rhodus will assume office on Jan. 1 and on Jan. 10 will attend their first meeting of their terms. The first thing on the agenda is the proposed fire levy.

The new collection of council members includes a mixture of new faces in Brill and Davidson, and experienced council members in Meyers and Rhodus, both of who have served multiple terms on City Council. They’ll join the ward council members, Leslie Besl, Dale Paullus, Terry Senger and Tim Abbott, all of who are up for re-election in two years.

“Our anticipation is this is going to be a great mixture of individuals who will help us govern the city over the next four years,” said City Manager Don Bennett at Monday’s swearing-in ceremony held at the Fairfield Community Arts Center’s theater.

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Tim Meyers speaks to the crowd after being sworn in as Fairfield city council member during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Tim Meyers speaks to the crowd after being sworn in as Fairfield city council member during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Tim Meyers speaks to the crowd after being sworn in as Fairfield city council member during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Butler County Judge Keith Spaeth is also hopeful for the council, having known three of the four newly sworn-in members for several years. He met Brill for the first time on Monday and said he was impressed with her.

“We are very fortunate here in the city to have elected leaders who I know will serve with character and distinction, and will do the right thing, and will put their self-interests aside and do what’s right,” said Spaeth, who served as Fairfield’s municipal court judge in the late 1990s.

Brill, whose father-in-law Donald Brill and husband’s grandfather Everett Brill, served the city for several years, carries on that family legacy.

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Gwen Brill speaks to the crowd after being sworn in as new Fairfield city council member during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Gwen Brill speaks to the crowd after being sworn in as new Fairfield city council member during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Gwen Brill speaks to the crowd after being sworn in as new Fairfield city council member during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

“I promise that I will do my very, very best. I’m not really a politician, but my husband’s family has always been active in Fairfield city government,” she said.

Davidson, an Butler County attorney, said though he and his fellow newly inducted council members were unopposed, “there still were many people who helped and worked very hard to support me, and I greatly appreciate this of all of you.”

Like Brill, public service is in Davidson’s family. He said he is a fourth-generation elected official, third-generation council member, though his family had not served in Fairfield.

“I look forward to serving the city of Fairfield. We have our hands full with issues coming before us, but I strongly believe that we have a great group of leaders who are going to come together and work tirelessly for this city,” Davidson said.

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Matt Davidson speaks to the crowd after being sworn in as new Fairfield city council member during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Matt Davidson speaks to the crowd after being sworn in as new Fairfield city council member during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Matt Davidson speaks to the crowd after being sworn in as new Fairfield city council member during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Meyers will return to the council since leaving in 2013 due to term limits said, “It would be an understatement to express my appreciation for the trust that the residents of the city have really granted us today,” remembering one of Fairfield’s sons who was killed on May 9, 2005, while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Karmah, Iraq.

“Over the 240-plus years that the United States has been in existence, many of our local folks have sacrificed and given the ultimate sacrifice, such as Marine Lance Cpl. Taylor Prazynski, born and raised here in Fairfield and who allowed us to do what we’re doing here today. This privilege,” said Meyers. “Our democracy is very special, allowing for peaceful transitions like this to occur, uninterrupted, without flaw, allowing us to get in a public forum today and take that special oath.”

Rhodus said a friend told him he’d been running for mayor his entire life. The mayor-elect said he “didn’t know about that” but recounted his childhood playing in the city, delivering newspapers to the municipal building as part of his route, and being involved in city government for eight years on City Council member and 12 years on the planning commission.

“I’ve been around the community at all levels for many, many, many years,” said his swearing-in as mayor “kind of brings it all together.”

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Left to right: Tim Meyers, Matt Davidson and Gwen Brill are sworn in as Fairfield city council members by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith M. Spaeth during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Left to right: Tim Meyers, Matt Davidson and Gwen Brill are sworn in as Fairfield city council members by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith M. Spaeth during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Left to right: Tim Meyers, Matt Davidson and Gwen Brill are sworn in as Fairfield city council members by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith M. Spaeth during a ceremony Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at the Fairfield Community Arts Center. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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