Reynoldsburg Council sorts out who will be fire board rep

By Dustin Ensinger
Staff Writer

The city of Reynoldsburg will have a new representative at West Licking Joint Fire District board meetings in 2015, but only after the current representative takes care of some unfinished business.

Reynoldsburg City Council, at its Jan. 5 meeting, unanimously voted to continue Councilman Cornelius McGrady’s appointment to the board through February, giving him enough time to conclude ongoing collective bargaining negotiations with the department’s firefighters.

Come March, McGrady will be replaced by Councilman Dan Skinner.

Neither McGrady nor Skinner voted on the measure, following the advice of City Attorney Jed Hood.

While the vote was unanimous, it was not without controversy.

At the final council meeting of 2014, a measure to replace McGrady was unanimously defeated after he raised objections about the switch.

Council members Scott Barrett and Mel Clemens echoed McGrady’s sentiments, saying the switch seemed inappropriate.

However, compromise was reached after council agreed to allow McGrady to stay on board until the union negotiations are concluded.

Skinner, for his part, said he is interested in the position because he feels as though his background as an attorney could be an asset to the department that is  facing ongoing litigation.

The department, formed in 1982, has three stations, 54 full-time firefighters, 30 part-time firefighters, three administration chiefs, three fire prevention officers, three battalion chiefs and nine lieutenants.

Along with Reynoldsburg, the department covers the city of Pataskala, the village of Kirkersville and Jersey, Harrison and Etna townships.

Committee leaders

The status quo prevailed when it came to committee leadership.

Those who ran the city’s four standing committees – community development, safety, service and finance – will continue to run them in 2015.

Councilwoman Leslie Kelly will lead the community development committee. McGrady will serve as vice-chairman.

Councilman Chris Long was tapped to  serve as chairman on the safety committee. He selected Skinner to serve as vice-chairman.

Clemens will lead the service committee and Barrett will be vice-chairman.

Councilman Barth Cotner will be chairman on the finance committee. Long will serve as vice-chairman.

Community Center update

Kelly said she is in the process of scheduling a meeting with YMCA officials to discuss the possibility of a recreation center in the city.

Council members believe tying the creation of a community center to the passage of an income tax increase can improve the city’s chance to raise revenues. The past four attempts to increase the city’s income tax have been unsuccessful.

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