In Harlem Township, in the southeast corner of the county, residents will determine a trustee race between challenger Shane O’Farrell and incumbent Jerry D. Paul. The term will begin Jan. 1, 2020.
The Gazette asked each candidate to provide information about themselves and why they wished to serve. Their responses are given in alphabetical order.
Shane O’Farrell: In his response, O’Farrell, 37, said he has lived in the township for eight years.
O’Farrell wrote that he was prompted to run for office because, “I’ve witnessed firsthand at best highly-questionably actions of the current trustee.”
He added, “Not only do I think I could do a better job, but that even if I did nothing at all, it still would be better than doing any … morally-wrong activities.”
In addition, “After speaking with many residents, I feel the biggest concern in the township is upcoming growth and development.” O’Farrell said he would take a responsible approach in determining the type “of growth and how fast it happens.”
Jerry D. Paul: A trustee since 1984, Paul is a graduate of Big Walnut High School, The Ohio State University, and is the owner of Paul’s Marine. He said he is a life-long resident of Harlem Township, married for 48 years to his wife, Gayle, the father of four grown children, and grandfather to 11 grandchildren.
“Residents of Harlem Township have put their confidence in me to serve this township, an honor that I do not take lightly,” Paul writes. “It is the three-member Board of Trustees that work for the overall good of our township. While our views may differ on an issue, we each must vote our conscience and proceed with respect toward one another.
“There are three basic principles that I adhere to in serving this community: Slow to judge, slow to speak, and quick to listen. Listening to the concerns of our residents and acting when appropriate is key to successfully managing our township.
“The Board of Trustees continues to focus on: Infrastructure; developing newly-acquired lands at Hunt and Fancher cemeteries; maintain a sound financial budget through conservative spending policies; support of our fire/EMS department; cooperate with oversight of the revision of the township Master Plan; continue to improve and maintain our Community Park and Grange Hall facility; consider best use of the recently-acquired concrete plant (we welcome recommendations from our residents and Park Committee); work to maintain the ‘rural character’ of Harlem Township by trying to control high-density house development.
“We will continue to utilize the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code to keep our township a place where we are all proud to live.”
Also on the ballot for Harlem Township residents, incumbent Julie Debolt is running unopposed for fiscal officer, term starting April 1, 2020.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.