Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Fairfield Twp. manager resigns

Trustee promises growth pattern will continue

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD TWP. - The administrator of this booming Butler County suburb has resigned and will leave by April.

Ron Randolph confirmed Monday he quit the first week of January and says he plans to move to Aiken, S.C.

He plans to continue working in Fairfield Township until April 4 and will help train his replacement.

The township administrator since March 2000, Mr. Randolph said he and his wife, Debbie, decided to retire and move to Aiken, a place where they vacation often, after finding a new home there that was too good to pass up.

"We have just had an opportunity to buy a home down there and needed to do it pretty quickly, so we talked it over and said now is probably the time to retire," Mr. Randolph, 56, said Monday. "I am going to probably look for something sometime down the road. I don't like to sit around by any means. I like to golf."

His exit comes as attractive subdivisions and retail development explode amid highway access in Fairfield Township. The population rose from 9,000 to 16,000 in the last decade and is expected to be 25,000 by 2020.

A Wal-Mart store that will be expanded into a super center and Home Depot mark the township's main downtown at Ohio Bypass 4 and Princeton Road.

Strip shopping centers and fast-food restaurants also have blossomed there since the anchors opened in the two years after the Michael A. Fox Highway emerged in late 1999, linking the Hamilton and the township to Interstate 75.

Despite Mr. Randolph's departure, the township won't skip a beat and will continue to ride its growth wave, Trustee Steve Morgan said.

"It's like a real good book. If you lose the last three pages, you have to start all over," Mr. Morgan said. "But we are not in a pickle by any means. We will manage the growth. We are going to rock and roll right on. All you will miss is Ron Randolph's name. Other than that, I don't think you'll notice he's gone," he said.

The township's zoning administrator and assistant administrator, Chris Gilbert, can help, Mr. Morgan added.

The township began advertising Mr. Randolph's job this week. He earned $50,360 annually and came to the township after working in the private sector.

"I want to make sure it's a smooth transition," Mr. Randolph said. "I really have enjoyed working in Fairfield Township and will miss it. We have brought it to a higher level of professionalism and I want to maintain that professionalism."

Mr. Randolph helped build the township's police station and worked to improve parks and roads.

In the past year, he pushed for road improvements at Bypass 4 and Princeton Road, which recently was widened from two to eight lanes.

In recent months, he joined Hamilton and Butler County leaders in lobbying for federal funds to widen Bypass 4, which routinely jams up for miles during rush hour.

"I am sorry to see him go," Butler County Commissioner Mike Fox said. "He did a good job for the township. He seemed to be responsive to the issues and is reasonable. In today's world, if you can get out of town without leaving problems, you have done a good job."

E-mail jedwards@enquirer.com

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