PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County Commissioner Skip Riffe announced Thursday that he will not be seeking election for a seventh term.
“After 23 years, I’ve decided to not seek re-election for a seventh term,” Riffe said. “I’m going to be retiring targeting Dec. 31, 2013, as the official date.”
In an informational sheet provided by Riffe, he states, he was fist elected in 1990, this will be the first time since 1947 that a Riffe will not be on an official ballot in Scioto County. Combining three generations (Vern Riffe Sr., Vern Riffe Jr. and Vern Riffe III) have served over 80 years of elected public service.
When asked about the changes he has seen over the years as a county commissioner, Riffe said, “There has not been that many changes. The best part about this whole thing for me has been the people that I’ve been able to work with.”
He said some of the good things that has happened over his time as a commissioner includes, the construction of the county jail and Infra-Metals coming to in New Boston.
“I think time will treat us very well (with the Scioto County Jail) on that and will will show it was the right thing to do. When we did it, (constructed the facility) it put us in some hardship (financially) and we knew it was going to be tough,” Riffe said. “But, it is now revenue producing and it doing what we had thought and planed for it to do, when we started the process.”
When asked what some of his reasons were for retiring Riffe said, “There are several reasons. I started looking at this (the possibility of retirement) last fall, I knew I had over 20 years and with the changes in the law coming, the ability to buy time was going to be much different.”
Riffe said with the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) he is able to purchase seven years of services so, when he retires he will technically have 30 years of service.
“A lot of this was brought on by the changes in the law (PERS). I don’t care who you are and what you do, there comes a time when something inside of you says it’s time to move on,” Riffe said. “It’s time to close one chapter in my life and move on to another.”
When asked if there are things he would still like to accomplish while he is still in office, Riffe said, “I would love to see us (Scioto County) get out of finical emergency status with the state, I don’t think that’s going to happen prior to the end of the year. There is to much paperwork still to be done.”
He said if it would workout where the county would be lifted out of this status, it would make him very happy.
“Something that I’ve been very interested in, is getting all of our records online. I’m talking about the tax maps and getting that in sync with documents in the recorders office. It would be nice to have those online for the people. These documents are available online in Pike County, Lawrence County, Jackson County and others in the region,” Riffe said.
Riffe said the only regrets is a few economic development projects that would have been good for the county, that did not workout. Along with the fact the county was placed in Fiscal Emergency status by the Ohio Auditors office.
“We, as commissioners, were responsible (for the conditions that surrounded the county being places under a financial status with the state), I’m not shying away from that at all. We were a victim circumstance,” Riffe said.
Riffe said he has been pleased with the way the county and it’s employees responded to the situation, which has allowed the county to return to positive fund balances.
Once Riffe’s retirement becomes official it will be up to the Scioto County Democratic Party to appoint his replacement, to fill the unexpired term.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.