PDT Staff Writer
President of Portsmouth City Council and Fifth Ward Councilman John Haas has resigned his position and has applied to fill the unexpired term of Portsmouth City Solicitor Mike Jones. Haas turned both in Friday, and according to sources at the city building, is one of three local attorneys to apply for the job. As of the deadline, noon on Friday, attorneys Gene Meadows and Steve Rodeheffer had also applied.
“Thank you so much for four excellent years,” Haas said in his letter of resignation. “I take great pride in what we have accomplished and wish you all the gretest success in continuing your efforts to move the city forward. I feel privileged to have worked alongside such excellent colleagues and to have had so many opportunities to grow and develop. I will never forget my time in service on City Council.” Haas then tells Council he is willing to work with any successor during the transition period.
The vacancy occurs on Jan. 2, 2013 when Jones takes a position of magistrate in the Scioto County Common Please Court Domestic Court Division. Jones announced his resignation last week when he said he would take the job under newly-elected Domestic Court Judge Jerry Buckler. That situation is a reversal of sorts as Buckler, prior to the November election had worked as an assistant prosecutor under Jones. Jones has three years remaining on his current elected term, which means that whoever is selected would serve the remaining three years then run for election.
According to Section 5 of the Portsmouth City Charter, “If a vacancy occurs in the office of President, or in the case of his absence or disability, his duties shall be performed, during such absence or disability, by the Vice-President. In the absence or disability of both the President and the Vice-President, the remaining members of the Council shall select one of their number to perform the duties of President.
Second Ward Councilman Rich Saddler, the current Vice-President of Council was asked Friday if he would assume the position of President, in the case of Haas’s resignation.
“If it’s automatic where I have to do it, the problem is that I wouldn’t be able to,” Saddler said. “During afternoon, serving on these boards like the Nuisance Board, and committees like that. I have a job and couldn’t take that job. I couldn’t do that.”
Haas became the third person to resign from city government in the last two weeks. In addition to Jones, Portsmouth City Clerk Tamara Nathan announced her resignation early in the week. Nathan will assume a position as assistant general manager of a Taco Bell location in South Point, Ohio.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org