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Commissioners expand SOPA membership

Our View

January 31, 2013

Wayne Allen


PDT Staff Writer


At the Thursday meeting of the Scioto County Commissioners a resolution was passed to expand the membership of the Southern Ohio Port Authority from 11 members to 21 members.


“We felt like this would give the Port Authority a better representation of the entire community. Most of these people are professionals and business people,” said Mike Crabtree, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners.


The newly appointed SOPA members include, Portsmouth Mayor David Malone; Scioto County Interim Economic Development Director Todd Book; New Boston Councilman Mike Payton; Portsmouth City Health Commissioner Chris Smith; Attorney George Davis, III along with Daniel Cassidy, Tom Kayser, Loretta McClure, Robert Holsinger, Jr. and Bryan Davis.


Crabtree said there are still two vacancies remaining on the board and they are looking into some potential members.


“We think what we’ve done here is going to help enhance the board. What were trying to do here should be obvious to the community, we’ve put a lot of thought into what were doing here,” Crabtree said.


Crabtree said his assumption is that current SOPA Vice Chairman Bill Thacker will become the chairman after the recent resignation of the Chairman Mick Sturgill.


Thacker could not be reached for further comment.


“The board itself will chose who the next chairman will be. I assume he would be the one who would move into that position,”Crabtree said.


Crabtree said this does not indicate a change in mission or purpose for SOPA.


“No matter what we do in life we’re always trying to figure out better and efficient ways of doing things. I don’t think the purpose has changed,” Crabtree said. “Scioto County has kind of been at the end of the line, it seems, like for the last 60 years. I have a lot of friends and relatives who drive a hundred miles to work everyday. I don’t think there is anyone in Scioto County who does not want jobs and opportunities here. So, if what we are doing here can help boost or enhance that a little, that’s what our purpose is.


“We’re not here to throw the baby out with the bath water, we’re here to do something that will maybe, make the Port Authorities job a little easier.”


Crabtree said the action taken by the commissioners is being done for the right reasons.


“With the change in power, there is no purpose in mind to disrupt things and disrupt the community. We want to make make things better and that’s what our intentions are,” Crabtree said.


In released statements, Scioto County Commissioner Skip Riffe stated, “expansion of the Port Authority was needed. The prevalent approach is to use the Port Authority as the main economic development tool. The new members combined with the current members makes for a good mix of people to accomplish the Port Authority’s goals.”


Crabtree indicated more changes may be on the way.


“We are asking the newly expanded Port Authority to review its bylaws and committees to determine if more structural changes are needed. I cannot overstate how vital and effective and efficient the Port Authority is for our county’s future. Nor can I overstate the need for motivated and engaged Port Authority members.”


Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com.