By Andrea Cordle
A familiar face has joined Grove City Council.
At the Feb. 6 meeting, council unanimously voted to appoint Steve Robinette to the at-large council seat. The seat was left vacant after Laura Lanese was voted to serve a term in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Robinette retired as the Grove City chief of police in the summer of 2015, where he was the acting chief for more than four years. He served with the Grove City Division of Police for 31 years.
“I am looking forward to working with everyone,” said Robinette after he was sworn in as a council member.
Robinette said he applied for the vacant seat because he has always had an interest in city happenings.
“Retiring allowed me to explore my options,” he said.
The city received 15 initial applicants for the open at-large seat, but several did not qualify because they lived outside of the corporation limits and four removed themselves from the interview process.
According to council president Roby Schottke, council interviewed eight candidates then narrowed that list down to three.
“All of the candidates were extremely well qualified and accomplished,” said Schottke. “I can’t say enough about how happy we were with the candidates.”
Robinette was in the small group of three, along with Chris Fulton, who served as a council member more than 12 years ago and Christine Houk, a Town Center business owner and community activist.
Schottke said they chose Robinette not only because of his background with the police, but also his participation in the city.
“He has been involved in budget planning. He is familiar with city functions. He is chairman of the charter review committee and he is involved in Grove City 2050,” said Schottke.
Robinette is also part of the Grove City Rotary Club and is a business owner of Pinnacle Pets in the city.
Robinette said his role as the police chief and as a local business owner could only help him in his new role as a councilman.
As police chief, Robinette said he had to deal with development plans, budgeting and social issues.
As a business owner, he had to go through the development process in the city. Robinette said he had a good experience, but he sees areas where there could be improvement for future businesses.
“This experience will help me greatly,” he said.
When asked if there may be any conflicts of interest since he has retired from the police department, Robinette said he negotiated labor contracts from both sides of the table – the police department and the administration.
“I have seen it from both sides and I see that as an asset,” said Robinette.
“I don’t stand to gain anything from police contracts.”
The former police chief will serve as the chairman of the safety committee.
Robinette’s term will expire at the end of the year.