Longtime Ironton council member resigns
IRONTON -- Ironton City Council has until Dec. 30 to name a replacement for Bob Cleary, who has resigned as a council member, Mack Anderson, an Ironton lawyer representing the city, said Tuesday.
Cleary, a former city mayor who has been a fixture in city government for the past 24 years, could run for office again next year or even be reappointed to council.
Cleary, 62, notified city officials last week of his plans to resign effective Friday, Nov. 30. Cleary, who served six years as mayor and some 18 years on council, cited recent changes in Ohio's retirement laws for his decision.
"I have always taken pride in my contribution to the city of Ironton, whether it was as mayor, councilman or citizen," Cleary said in his resignation letter. "When I was elected to office in 1988, it was with every intention of completing every elected term. Even though I would like to continue to serve through the end of my current term and beyond, it is in the best interest of me and my family to retire prior to Jan. 1."
There is about a year remaining on his term and he said Tuesday there's a "good chance" he'll pick up petitions to run for office again next spring. Cleary also could be reappointed to council after Feb. 1.
"I'm in favor of reappointing him," said council member Philip Heald. "He's such a valuable member of council. He knows the budget process. I think he's a real asset. I'd like to see him back on there."
Heald and council member Aaron Bollinger said council likely could consider naming a replacement at its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 13. If a majority of council members can't agree on a replacement in 30 days, the city charter provides that Mayor Rich Blankenship will immediately name a replacement.
Bollinger said it was too early to say who he favors for the post. "I hope we can get an independent thinker, someone who can provide valuable input," he said. "I hope we can find a replacement with that kind of passion."
Blankenship said he's passed on some names of a possible replacement.
"Since it is not my desire to abandon my elected responsibility, I should point out that according to the laws, as I understand them, I may, after 60 days from the date of my resignation/retirement once again be elected, appointed or employed," Cleary said. "I would like to thank everyone who has worked with me in the past and hope that we will find ways to work together in the future."
If Cleary didn't resign, he would have lost a big part of his state retirement, Cleary said.
"I was very saddened to have to resign," he said. "I have such a passion for city government and a wealth of knowledge on how the city works. It will be a tough budget year next year."
Upcoming council meetings
Ironton City Council's finance committee is set to discuss the 2013 budget during a special meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday at the city building.
Unless a special meeting is called, council members can't consider naming a person to fill out the remaining one-year term of Bob Cleary until its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 13.