Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Townships express gratitude

At the Madison County Townships Associations Christmas party on Dec. 12, two women were recognized for their service to the community—one a relative newcomer to the area and the other a Madison County native.

Mary Ann Webb, health commissioner with the Madison County/London City Health District, was named the associations 2011 Friend of the Townships. Shirley Witwer was honored for her 43.5 years of clerking and fiscal work for the Deercreek Township trustees.

Madison County Townships Association President Michael Boerger (right) presents the Friends of the Townships award to Mary Ann Webb, health commissioner with the Madison County/London City Health District.

Friend of the Townships
Mary Ann Webb succeeded Dr. James Herman as Madison Countys health commissioner in 2008. She commutes to her job in London from Ross County, where she has lived with her husband, Tom, for 30 years.

In presenting the Friend award to Webb, association President Michael Boerger, said,Ever mindful of the autonomy of each township, our honoree has successfully developed mutual trust, respect and working relationships with the townships in Madison County.

Webb regularly visits each of the townships leadership teams to inform them of the health districts programs and ask how the district can be of better service to the townships.

She also has made a connection with the community at large through volunteerism.

“While always attentive to the people she serves during the day, she also can be seen outside the office volunteering her time in Madison County for various causes, even though she doesnt live in Madison County, Boerger said.

Recent past winners of the Friend of the Township award include former Madison County Auditor Jim Williamson, former health commissioner Dr. James Herman, State Senator Chris Widener, Madison County Prosecutor Steve Pronai and retired Madison County Sheriff Steve Saltsman.

Deercreek Township trustees Bob Sellars, Tom Cecil and Robert Turvy Jr. present a plaque to Shirley Witwer for her longtime service as fiscal officer.

Deercreek Township Honoree
Shirley Witwer retired from her post as Deercreek Township fiscal officer in June, 43.5 years after she was first elected to the position as a 23-year-old in 1968.

“Our kids were little when I first started and now were grandparents, Witwer said of herself and her husband, Jim.Its been time that went by so quickly.

Witwer was unopposed in every one of her re-election bids. The only gap in her service as fiscal officer came after she retired from her full-time job at the Madison County Auditors Office in 1999. At the time, a person enrolled in the Public Employees Retirement System could not retire from one public job and still hold another public job. So, she resigned, and her husband took over for a term.

“Its been a good run. Ive had wonderful, wonderful trustees to work with every year, she said. Among them are three generations of trustees from the same family, starting with Raymond Peters, followed by his son, Robert Turvy Sr., and now serving, his grandson, Robert Turvy Jr.

Witwer said she will never forget her first meeting as township clerk.

“The grand total for all of our funds was $15,000. Someone had stolen our lawn mower from the cemetery, and we didnt have enough money to buy a new one from the correct fund, she said.

Fast forward to today: the township recently completed a 2,400 square-foot, $272,000 township building in Lafayette.

As for why she decided to retire this year, Witwer said,Because it was time.

“I wanted the freedom not to have to prepare payroll twice a month, plus November through January are very hectic months bookkeeping-wise. I just decided I didnt need that anymore, she said.

Witwer plans to spend her free time taking trips and visiting family, continuing her volunteer work in the office at St. Patrick Church in London, and volunteering more at the Madison County Senior Center, where she recently was elected to the board of directors.

Townships Association
Madison County is home to 14 townships, each represented by four elected officials—three trustees and one fiscal officer. All are considered members of the Madison County Townships Association, which meets six times a year.

The group also is open to associate members, including elected county officials, retired township officials and anyone from the public who is interested in local government. The fee to join is $20 a year. Each meeting includes an educational presentation and a business meeting.

Re-elected as officers for 2012 are: Michael Boerger of Pike Township, now in his 12th year as president; Wayne Holland of Oak Run Township, vice president; and Robert Turvy Jr., secretary-treasurer. The new executive committeeman, serving as a liaison between the county and state associations, is Steve Denes of Fairfield Township.

The next association meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at the new Deercreek Township building.

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