County faces another reluctant retirement


Delaware County government is losing more institutional knowledge, thanks to recent changes in the state’s public employee retirement system.

Former Delaware County Auditor Jerry Heston has been forced to resign his position on the board that hears formal complaints on property valuations, the board of revisions, to avoid negatively impacting his pension.

“He’s forced to resign from a job that he loves and would have done for free,” said Administrator Tim Hansley. “He was really disappointed that he couldn’t stay on the board.”

Heston tried to find a way to stay on the board without impacting his pension, Commissioner Gary Merrell said.

“It’s kind of a job that is thankless in a lot of respects, but he’s done a great job at it,” he said.

Heston is one of several county employees to make an earlier-than-expected exit from public service in recent years to avoid losing out on future pension earnings or health care benefits, including former county commissioners Ken O’Brien and Dennis Stapleton.

Delaware County commissioners on Thursday also took time out of their meeting to congratulate Genoa Township resident Jason Day on his victory in the PGA Championship last week, the 27-year-old Australia native’s first victory in one of professional golf’s four major tournaments.

“What a great honor and anyone who saw that was, it was very, very moving,” said Commissioner Barb Lewis. “He had to fight through a lot to get there.”

Lewis, a former Genoa Township Trustee, said Day has been a major booster for the police department.

“(Jason and his wife) have been very supportive of the Genoa Township Police Department, in particularly, the K-9 police dogs,” she said. “These police dogs, of course, have gone far beyond Genoa Township in fighting crime. They are in use across the county.”

Merrell said he tuned in to the final round Sunday to watch 22-year-old phenom Jordan Speith, but found himself rooting for Day down the stretch.

“It looks like they are going to have a lot of interesting golf in the future,” he said.

Commissioners also approved the purchase of a Dodge Ram ProMaster van for a little more than $40,000 for the Delaware County Board of Elections to transport supplies and equipment to polling places.

The board has previously used an employee’s truck and trailer for the job.

“We really need this type of vehicle to deliver things to the vote centers,” said Karla Herron, the board’s deputy director.

By Dustin Ensinger

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Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.

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