Holly Stacy has her final commissioners meeting

Commissioner Holly Stacy’s last meeting included a proclamation from the lieutenant governor’s office, a tribute video, and of course, cake.

Her last day in office is today, and Stacy said she isn’t able to share her next venture yet, but she’ll make her announcement when she’s able.

Until then, she’s planning a vacation.

Prior to the meeting, Stacy looked back on her 6 1/2 years in office.

“Ready or not, it’s here,” Stacy said of her last days in office.

“I have very much mixed emotions,” she said. “It’s been a great honor to serve. It was everything I anticipated and more.”

Stacy said there has been frustration and satisfaction, some conflict and much agreement.

“It’s being able to see where you are having some influence to make a difference,” she said. “It’s been the best job I’ve ever had, and the hardest.”

She said she knew going into the position that there would be conflict to deal with.

“The accusatory nature over hot topics did no one any good,” she said. “It’s really sad that it had to come to that.

“You can’t please everybody,” she said. “You have to do your best. You weigh the facts and input and make a decision that’s best for the county as a whole.”

Stacy said she has worked full time as a commissioner.

“Some people used to view these jobs as part-time, some people still say that,” she said. “I looked at it as something that needed and deserved full-time attention.”

She said the diversity of her background helped.

Before being elected commissioner, Stacy served as the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Sandusky County for 10 years. She also has worked as a public

involvement manager in the transportation industry for nine years and for the Extension’s Agricultural Business Enhancement Center northwest Ohio and is Sandusky County as the 4-H Extension educator.

Stacy said she has worked to be fiscally conservative.

She said the local economy is doing well, and she thought it was interesting to see how county revenues have increased since she started. The General Fund budget in 2013 had revenue of $14.6 million, which has increased to $17.8 million this year.

Her agriculture background was an important influence throughout her terms, she said, and one of her accomplishments was doing research and being instrumental in bringing back an agriculture educator to Seneca County’s Ohio State University Extension office.

Hallie Williams, agriculture and natural resources educator, fills a role different from past Extension people and fits the needs of today’s residents, she said.

“We need an ag agent,” she said. “Not just to have one, but we want to know what we needed in an ag agent. We’re blessed that we’ve got an agent who is a ball of energy and equipped for her job.”

Stacy said the timing worked out so the state Extension program is partially paying for the position.

Other issues through the years have included the opening of the Seneca County Youth Center and the

Seneca Crawford Area Transportation garage as well as considering the future of emergency medical services in the county and the creation of joint ambulance districts.

In 2015, she said the county established a local Transportation Improvement District, which has led to various grants to help fund road improvements. The county also started its land bank, which has drawn in millions of dollars to clear blighted properties.

Stacy counts the Seneca County Justice Center as an accomplishment as well – from deciding the location and planning to construction.

“I was very adamant that this be the people’s courthouse,” she said. “We wanted to give residents many opportunities to connect themselves to their justice center. We had behind-the-scenes tours, several public meetings, a topping off ceremony, a cornerstone ceremony with the Ohio Masons and more.”

Stacy said she also worked hard on a time capsule in the building that will be opened 50 years from when it was placed.

Other projects included moves and upgrades for the Board of Elections and Seneca Regional Planning Commission offices. The Seneca County Museum was restructured and is back to having a paid director.

The past year or two have brought new voting machines, and the commissioners established a budget stabilization fund or “rainy-day” fund. She said this was a smart decision to make while things are going well economically to safeguard against possible economic downturn.

Stacy said long-term planning is important.

“One thing I’ve really enjoyed doing is being part of the process, researching, listening and being part of the board’s decisions,” she said. “I’ve taken it on myself to speak to groups about county governments.

We’ve spoken to citizens; we’ve spoken to government classes and we’ve spoken with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.”

Stacy said working to educate others on the role of county government was among her favorite things to do as a commissioner.

As she looks forward, Stacy said she had to make a decision on whether to run for a third term.

“I kept pushing my personal deadline on whether to run again,” she said. “I knew then that I wouldn’t. You’ve got to be 100 percent in on that.

Instead, she decided to look elsewhere.

“I’m starting a new chapter in my life,” she said.

During the meeting, Luanne Cooke with Ohio Lt. Gov. John Husted’s office read a proclamation thanking Stacy for her service, and later in the meeting, a tribute video was viewed during which several county employees and elected officials thanked her for her work.

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