Delaware County will have a full stable of commissioners next week.
Jeff Benton is set to be sworn into office at 9 a.m. on Sept. 8, giving the board of commissioners its full slate of three members for the first time since former Commissioner Ken O’Brien’s abrupt resignation in June.
Benton was selected last month by the Delaware County Republican Party central committee to replace O’Brien.
“I am humbled by this appointment and will dedicate myself to doing what’s best for Delaware County,” he said in a statement. “We are fortunate to live in the best county in the state of Ohio and I intend to make sure that we continue to prosper for many years to come.”
He did not respond to a message left on his cellphone seeking further comment.
Benton is former president and CEO of Delaware County Bank. He left his position at Delaware County Bank in the midst of the Great Recession. He said the departure was a mutual decision between he and the company’s board.
Before his rise to the top spot at Delaware County Bank, Benton served in several executive-level positions with Bank One and Wendy’s.
He has an accounting degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Benton, a lifelong county resident, has also been active in the community, including roles with Ohio Wesleyan University, the Little Brown Jug Society and the Central Ohio Symphony.
He is a member of the party’s central committee, serving as vice chair of the executive committee, and is the treasurer of the campaign committee for U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township.
The focus, he said previously, will be on long-term strategies for sewer and transportation infrastructure, emergency medical services and economic development.
A sewer plan needs to be “flexible,” according to Benton; an emergency medical services plan should focus not on “coverage issues,” but overlap and financial issues; transportation requires a “very strategic and thought-out” plan; and diversifying the county’s economy should be a priority.
To retain the seat, Benton will need to win a Republican primary in March and a general election in November 2016. The term to which O’Brien was elected ends at the end of 2016.
O’Brien resigned the seat on June 30, just one day before changes to the state’s public employee retirement system took effect. The changes, he said, could have negatively impacted his pension. He has since filed to run for a seat on the Olentangy Board of Education.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.
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