The businessman Fred Zoeller officially became a politician Thursday afternoon when he was sworn in by Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff.
Zoeller, owner of Laminate Technologies, starts his term as commissioner Jan. 3.
"I know that when I started on this venture, I had a couple of people say 'Fred what are you doing this for? Why do you want to go there?'" he said. "I just want to help people. I want to help the community. It's just been amazing the support of the campaign, and all that I ask is I'm going to need that support in the future more than I have in the past."
PHOTO BY ZACH GASE
Fred Zoeller (right) smiles after being sworn in by Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff (middle) Thursday. Several other elected officials were also sworn in by Shuff and Seneca County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Jay Meyer (left).
Zoeller said he wanted to compliment the exiting commissioners Dave Sauber and Ben Nutter for their work.
"I believe the county is a better place today for their efforts over the last eight years," he said.
Zoeller said he has done a lot in preparation for his first time serving in office, including regularly attending commissioner meetings and speaking with several elected officials.
He said he has set up a procedure to meet with elected officials at least once a quarter to discuss their needs. He also wants to implement a program asking employees for suggestions on how the county can save money.
Zoeller said he is getting an assessment of county departments as they compare to similar sized county departments and looking at staff sizes and wages. He said this is a technique he used in business.
"I'm going to need the help of God, I'm going to need some prayers from a lot of people to be successful," Zoeller said. "A lot of people have put a lot of faith in me, and I pray that I can live up to everyone's expectations."
He said his primary focus is economic development, and he said he expects less subsidies from the state, so it's more important to improve the county's business sense.
"I know I'm going to make some mistakes, as I move forward," Zoeller said. "I apologize in advance for those mistakes. But those mistakes will be made with the best intentions. I have no personal agendas, I don't have any axes to grind with anyone. Unfortunately, as in business, I may step on some toes through the process of putting some business sense in county government."
Sheriff Bill Eckelberry, Clerk of Courts Mary Ward, Engineer Mark Zimmerman, Recorder Mike Dell and Coroner Mark Akers also were sworn in to office Thursday afternoon.
"We were all born and raised here, and we really believe in this community and this county and the people in it," Shuff said. "There's a lot of good things that are going to happen in our community."