After 11 years serving as the Auglaize County administrator, Joe Lenhart officially announced his plans to step down.
Employed with Auglaize County in a variety of capacities since 1983, Lenhart wrote in his resignation letter to the Auglaize County commissioners that “almost every day has been a joy.”
While he said he appreciates the time spent as county administrator, “the time has come for me to step back and let someone else have the fun.”
Lenhart requested that his resignation be effective Jan. 31 and his retirement to begin Feb. 1, however he requested that his last day in the office be Dec. 30, as he planned on using vacation and flex time during the month of January.
With the Auglaize County Courthouse renovation underway, Lenhart said he would be willing to volunteer time if needed to attend meetings and work with contractors to see the project complete.
He also said he would work with his replacement in every possible way to make the completion go efficiently.
Beginning as a part-time corrections officer while laid off from Goodyear, it took only a month when Lenhart was first hired to begin working full-time. After that he spent eight years as a corrections officer with the county.
He then served as
the director of Auglaize County Veterans Services for another eight years before taking the helm as Auglaize County administrator.
“Auglaize County has been very good to my family and me,” Lenhart said, thanking the commissioners for the opportunity to serve.
Commissioners in their resolution commended Lenhart for his faithfulness and dedication to the citizenry of Auglaize County and wished him the best.
Using a quote from Mark Twain, Lenhart said it summed up his career with the county: “Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
Of his plans to retire, Lenhart said he wants to enjoy life, spending time with his wife of more than 35 years, Judy, and his children and grandchildren, as well as traveling.
Auglaize County Commissioner John Bergman said Lenhart has always given of himself beyond expectations.
“When something needs done, he does it no matter how long it takes,” Bergman said.
He gave examples of Lenhart’s active role in maintaining the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum, which has even gone as far as to him voluntarily mowing the expansive property.
“He always goes way above what is expected of him and does not complain,” Bergman said.
In that capacity Lenhart also has been very giving of himself with local, state and even national veteran service organizations, for which the veteran who earned a Purple Heart during his service, has a strong passion.
“We told him we were not going to accept his letter of resignation,” Bergman said. “We knew it was coming but the time came quicker than we realized.”
Commissioners have said they would like to get a new county administrator hired by December, so he can spend time working with Lenhart before his retirement. They are advertising for the position in local newspapers in Wapakoneta, St. Marys, Celina, Sidney and Lima.
Bergman said they are looking for someone capable of multitasking and working with a variety of different entities, who also excels in budgeting and people skills.
“Obviously, we’re looking for an administrative skill set,” Bergman said. “I always know a lot when I sit down and interview a person.”
Timing of the hire, in the middle of the courthouse renovation will be a challenge, but Bergman appreciates Lenhart’s offer to volunteer without pay to assist in any way he can.
“He has a wealth of knowledge available and is more than willing to work with the individual we hire,” Bergman said. “That is a big plus.”