Fostoria panel votes on newest member

Hopple

FOSTORIA — Fostoria City Council members recommended a local resident for appointment to the city’s vacant Third Ward council seat Tuesday night.

Mike Hopple, who has lived in Fostoria since 1993, was recommended by council for appointment to the seat, which has been vacant since the beginning of the year.

Council President Steve Kauffman said the recommendation is to be given to Mayor Eric Keckler, who is expected to name Hopple to the post.

Hopple faced opposition from 20-year-old Bowling Green State University student Logan Shackelford, who expressed interest in the seat last month. Seneca County Board of Elections Director Jim Ehrman introduced Shackelford to council members Jan. 9 before endorsing him for the vacancy.

Hopple said he saw a need for the seat to be filled and that’s why he stepped forward.

“I have a vested interest in the community because I have a lot of family there,” he said. “I really like the town. There’s a lot of possibility, it just needs moved in the right direction.”

Hopple said the city needs time and encouragement. He said his children attend Fostoria City Schools and he hopes to create a better environment for them.

Shackelford said he was born and raised in Fostoria and he wanted to give back.

“I can aid the community. I can give a fresh perspective,” he said. “I talk to a lot of people (in Fostoria). I want to give back. This is my home.”

Hopple won the recommendation after a 5-1 council vote. Councilman Doug Pahl voted for Shackelford.

“I hope to bring some good ideas,” Hopple said.

Hopple said he never envisioned himself as a political officeholder and said he is “anxious” to begin.

“This is untested waters for me,” he said.

In other business, council heard the first reading of legislation to continue to partially fund Fostoria Economic Development Corp.

City Finance Director Steve Garner said if approved, the city would provide about $69,000 to the organization that also gets funding from other sources.

In other news, council suspended the three-reading rule and approved legislation allowing the city to create a compliance officer/project coordinator position.

Safety Services Director Deb Hellman said creating the position is part of a plan to reorganize the engineer and zoning departments. Former Engineer Dan Thornton and Zoning Inspector Sandy Coleman were fired in November as part of the effort.

The new, full-time position is to pay $48,500-$60,000 annually and will be responsible for managing and overseeing engineering projects, permit process and professional engineering consultants.

Council also approved a contract with the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which represents city dispatchers.

Before the contract was approved, Councilman Greg Cassidy demanded to read it.

“You’re asking us to vote yay or nay on something that I haven’t laid my eyes on,” he said.

After a brief executive session, council approved the contract.

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