With the departure of one long-time councilor, Wapakoneta City Council President Steve Henderson says he shuffled members on committees to match the best people to the challenges confronting the city.
“I think every committee is important and the work they do is vital to the success of the city,” Henderson said. “I hopefully have matched the interests and strengths of the councilors to the committees that best suit their talents.”
He also mentioned he sought the councilor’s and the mayor’s input in determining the committee assignments for the seven councilors.
Mayor Rodney Metz said he is confident in Henderson’s choices and has faith in the councilors doing a good job.
“I think Steve did a good job in assigning committees and I don’t have any problems with his selections,” Mayor Rodney Metz said. “He asked for my suggestions on appointing members to the committees, especially in regard to one committee, but I told him it was his choice and I would back any decision he made.
“I did tell him to watch what transpires during council meetings and determine who you think would work well together and who would be interested in working in the specific areas,” the mayor said.
When long-time Councilor-at-large Wilbur Wells decided against running for re-election last year, his departure left committee seats open on Finance, Parks and Recreation and Utilities. Wells served as chair of the Finance Committee.
Henderson opted to assign the chairmanship to 3rd Ward Councilor Bonnie Wurst, who served on the Finance Committee with 1st Ward Councilor Jim Neumeier and Wells. Wells, who works as an accountant at Cargill in Sidney, served as Finance Committee chair for the past decade. He was appointed to the committee by Henderson during his first term as council president.
For the open committee seat, Henderson assigned Councilor-at-large Tom Finkelmeier Jr. to the committee.
“I decided to name Wurst the chair because she has the most experienced tenure wise,” Henderson told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “I have the utmost confidence in Bonnie or Jim Neumeier heading that committee, but I just leaned toward Bonnie based on her experience and her efforts on the committee.
“I thought she would be an effective person to run probably the most important committee on council, which is the Finance Committee,” the council president said.
Henderson noted he could not go wrong with either Wurst or Neumeier named as chair, with Neumeier having previous experience as a councilor during the 1980s and 1990s before his most recent term and Wurst having served in the past as a member of the Wapakoneta City Schools Board of Education.
The council president explained Finkelmeier expressed an interest in serving on the committee and Henderson said he believed Finkelmeier would do a good job.
“I asked for their feedback regarding what committees they wanted to serve on and Mr. Finkelmeier was gracious enough to volunteer to serve on the Finance Committee and I think he will do an effective job,” Henderson said.
With Wurst becoming Finance Committee chair, Henderson relieved her of the duties of Lands and Buildings Committee chair since the Finance Committee chairmanship requires so much time and attention. He named 2nd Ward Councilor Dan Lee the new chair of the Lands and Buildings Committee.
“I wanted Lee to head this committee because I wanted a person with experience on council leading this committee,” Henderson said. “I really think this committee will be very busy dealing with a range of issues facing the city in the next two years. I have all the confidence in the world in Mr. Lee.”
Lee will be joined with veteran councilor Dan Graf, who moves from representing the 4th Ward to entire city. The third person on the committee is newcomer 4th Ward Councilor Chad Doll.
With Lee moving to the chair of Lands and Buildings Committee, Henderson assigned Doll to Lee’s former chairmanship which is to head the Communications and Rules Committee.
“I wanted to ease Chad Doll into the process and I don’t think there is a better committee to learn what all the city departments do than to sit or to chair Communications and Rules because you deal with all the department supervisors,” Henderson said. “He is being teamed with Councilors-at-large Dan Graf and Steve Walter, who have the experience to lean on.”
Henderson said the remaining committees basically remained unchanged except for Doll replacing Wells on the Parks and Recreation Committee.