SUNBURY — Longtime Mayor Tommy Hatfield has resigned, and Joe St. John was sworn in Monday as the new mayor of the village.
Hatfield made the announcement virtually at the Sunbury Village Council meeting on April 21. In a letter dated April 16, he wrote, “I am writing to inform you of my intention to resign as the Mayor of Sunbury effective Friday April 30th 2021.
“I truly appreciate the experience of serving the residents of Sunbury since 2006. I feel blessed to have played a small part in the town where I have raised my family and loved for so many years.
“The experiences, people, challenges and opportunities will be with me forever, and I will always be proud of what we accomplished. I have enjoyed working with each of you and wish you continued success.
“If there is any way I can help to ease in the transition, please let me know.”
Hatfield was last elected in the 2019 election. He ran unopposed, as he did in 2015. Among the highlights of his administration was marking Sunbury’s bicentennial in 2016.
“We have something special in Sunbury,” Hatfield often said.
An April 22 Facebook post by the village said, “Council and staff would like to take this opportunity to thank Mayor Hatfield for his years of service and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
St. John, who was council president, became mayor on May 1. A graduate of The Ohio State University and a full-time bank vice president, St. John and his family moved to Sunbury in 2014. He served on the Sunbury Planning and Zoning Commission in 2016-2017 and was elected to council in 2018. In 2019, he was selected as president of council.
Now as mayor, St. John will be tasked with taking a growing community from village to city status.
“Welcome to your new role, Joe, and we wish you much success!” said a post on Sunbury’s Facebook page.
According to the April 21 minutes, Solicitor David Brehm said St. John “will assume the role of Mayor for this year, the position will be open for the election this November.”
The mayor has a vote at council meetings, but a new council president will need to be selected. This will be done by vote at tonight’s council meeting.
That means there will need to be a seventh council member, which serves as the legislative authority in the village. Council meets up to three times a month, and each member serves on committees that have their own meetings.
“According to our Charter, a vacancy of Council shall be filled by a majority vote of the members of the Council (including the Mayor) within 30 days after the vacancy occurs,” the Village posted on its website.
To serve on council, individuals have to have lived in Sunbury for at least a year and be registered to vote. They cannot hold any other public office or have a conflict of interest with the village.
“Interested applicants for the Council vacancy should send a letter of interest and resume to the Sunbury Municipal Office, Attn: Allen Rothermel, PO Box 508, Sunbury, OH 43074 or email email@example.com on or before May 12th,” said Sunbury’s website.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.