Six apply for 5th Ward position

December 27, 2012

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

As a result of the recent resignation of Fifth Ward Councilman John Haas, a vacancy was left on Portsmouth City Council. The deadline for residents of the Fifth Ward to apply for the positions was Friday, Dec. 21 and six people have applied.

Those who applied include Chris Gullett, Gene Meadows, Robert Berry, Craig Massie, Christopher Neff and Eric Froe.

After Haas resigned from council, he interviewed for and was appointed city solicitor.

Current City Solicitor Mike Jones submitted his letter of resignation effective at the end of the year. He has been hired as magistrate by newly-elected Scioto County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Judge Jerry Buckler.

Before his resignation Haas served as council president and because of his resignation, Council Second Ward Councilman and Council Vice President Rich Saddler became acting council president.

At a recent city council meeting Saddler said, “I’ve been entrusted with the job of vice president of council and I thank each of you for believing in me and trusting me to fill this position. With the resignation of Mr. Haas we will be nominating and electing a new president of council. I’ve been asked by some of you and by many of the people in the Second Ward and people of other wards to step up to the position of council president. I appreciate the support and the belief in me to do the job as president. Unfortunately, due to my full-time job, that’s also out of town, I would be unable to fulfill the duties of council president to its full potential.”

He said he will be staying in the position of vice president through the end of the year 2013.

At that same meeting, council took nominations for president and was not able to come to a consensus, with three out of the five remaining members nominated for the position.

After a consensus could not be reached, it was advised by Jones that council wait to take another vote for president until the vacancy in the Fifth Ward could be filled.

“It appears there has not been a majority to appoint a new president. Obviously we have a vacancy in the Fifth Ward. My recommendation would be for council to appoint that new person to fill the term for Mr. Haas in the Fifth Ward. Then to make a determination on council president. That would be fair not only to the entire city but also to the Fifth Ward, who at this point does not have a voice on council,” Jones said.

Council took the advice and are waiting until the vacancy can be filled before another vote is taken for council president. Saddler will remain acting council president until such time.

A special meeting of the Portsmouth City Council has been set for Jan. 3, at 6 pm in Council Chambers in the Municipal Building. The meeting has been called to interview and appoint an individual for the position of the Fifth Ward Councilman.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or