Judge appoints Garman to WJ school board vacancy

Jerry Garman
Jerry Garman

(Posted Jan. 22, 2016)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Jefferson Local Schools board of education is whole again.

Madison County Common Pleas Judge Eamon Costello appointed West Jefferson resident Jerry Garman to the board’s vacant seat following a public hearing at the Madison County Courthouse on Jan. 19.

The five-member board was one member short going into 2016 following the November election when only two candidates made the ballot for three open spots. Typically, the board fills such vacancies by appointment, but due to a 2-2 vote for president at the board’s January organizational meeting, the board could not move forward with business, including that of appointing a fifth board member. Three days later, the 30-day period in which the board had to make the appointment expired.

By law, the appointing duties then fell to the Madison County juvenile/probate court judge. However, Christopher Brown, who holds that position, cited potential conflicts of interest with the one or more of the four candidates who applied to fill the vacancy. That’s when Costello stepped in.

Costello reviewed the letters of interest and resumés submitted by the candidates: Garman, retired from the finance sector; Shelly Ellinger, manager of special markets for an animal health company; Michael Quinn, a retired major with the Ohio Highway Patrol; and Edward Shepherd, a longtime member of the school board. Costello then called the public hearing at which he gave each candidate five minutes to state their interest in and qualifications for the position. Shepherd was unable to attend the hearing.

Costello said the decision on who to appoint was not easy.

“It’s a really difficult thing to do in circumstances where you have so many qualified candidates. That’s a terrific reflection on what you have going on in West Jefferson,” he said.

After announcing his selection of Garman, Costello thanked all of the candidates for showing a willingness to get involved with their community’s school system. He opted not to select a board president, stating that with five members in place, the board should be able to elect a president and vice president on their own at the next board meeting.

Of his appointment to the board, Garman said, “I’m looking forward to doing what’s best for the community.”

Garman and his wife have lived in West Jefferson for 37 years. Garman earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Otterbein University in 1968 and a masters in business from Xavier University in 1972.

After a short stint as a teacher following graduation from college, Garman worked in business lending for the Small Business Administration for 20 years. He later handled commercial lending for a small bank, then became a regional manager for Bank One (now Chase). He rounded out his career as owner of a finance company, retiring about 10 years ago. His two children graduated from West Jefferson High School. His daughter, Jennifer Siddiqi, teaches government at the high school.

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