GALENA — Paul Disantis was recently appointed Berkshire Township trustee by Delaware County’s probate court judge.
Disantis was previously chairman of Berkshire’s Zoning Board. He serves as chief legal counsel to the Ohio House of Representatives. Disantis will fill the seat previously held by Josh Varble, who no longer resides in the township. Disantis’ term will expire at the end of 2023.
During a 20-minute trustees meeting on Jan. 24, five members of the public voiced their support for Mary Howard, a longtime resident and volunteer who is a regular at the meetings. One person supported Stephen Ciacchi, who ran for trustee in the November 2021 election.
Trustee Mike Dattilo then nominated Howard to be trustee, but Chairman Rod Myers did not second, so the motion failed. The meeting was adjourned shortly afterwards.
Under Ohio law, if a township trustee position remains open for more than 30 days, it falls to the county’s probate court judge to appoint someone to fill the open seat. In Delaware County, that’s Judge David Hejmanowski. In a letter to Berkshire residents, he made his decision on Feb. 24.
Hejmanowski noted that the law “provides no specific process” on making the appointment, so he had people apply for the position, and eight did. They were Kurt Camealy, Ciacchi, Disantis, Art Harper, Kimberly Hartman, Howard, Matthew Reckner and Austin Slattery.
“I am pleased to say that all eight are dedicated and highly-qualified residents who are interested in serving their community,” Hejmanowski wrote. “I am confident that all of them could have done an excellent job as trustee.”
Over President’s Day weekend, Hejmanowski interviewed each person, opting “to view this process not as a political one … but … which candidate’s skills best met the short-term needs of the township.” He said he opted to appoint Disantis based on his legal skills and zoning experience.
“It was a joy to become more familiar with Berkshire Township’s pressing issues and with its many citizens who care deeply about their community,” Hejmanowski concluded the letter.
In related matters, Berkshire is seeking a part-time board clerk to take minutes at the trustees and zoning meetings. For more information, visit www.berkshiretwp.org. In addition, the Northstar New Community Authority is seeking volunteers to serve on its board. For more information, visit the Delaware County website (co.delaware.oh.us) and click on the Board and Commissions link.