Thursday, April 10, 2003

Switcheroo planned by GOP


Suburban Insider

Compiled By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Butler GOP swap in the works: Butler County Republican Party leaders want Ohio Rep. Greg Jolivette and Butler County Commissioner Courtney Combs to consider switching jobs.

The state's term-limit law will shove Scott Nein out of his Senate seat at the end of next year and then knock Jolivette out of his job at the end of 2006.

County GOP leaders want to avoid having current officeholders battling for Nein's seat in next year's primary, said Joe Statzer, executive director of the Butler County Republican Party.

"We also want to battle the term-limit issue by finding ways for our experienced officeholders to continue serving the public," he said.

At this point, discussions are very preliminary, Statzer said.

Combs, who has been a county commissioner for 16 years, has been interested in a state political office for a long time. But when past opportunities arose, concerns about being away too much from his two young children prevented him from making a move.

Now that his children are older - his daughter is graduating from high school and his son will be entering high school - he feels the situation would work.

"The timing is as good as it's ever been," said Combs, a Ross Township resident.

As a commissioner, Combs has had extensive experience in dealing with state officials and state issues.

"There are some challenges in Columbus that I look forward to," Combs said.

Jolivette, a former Hamilton mayor, said the county commissioner's seat holds much appeal for him - especially with term limits looming.

"I still want to be able to serve my community," he said. "I'm still relatively young and still have a lot to offer. In some respects, I miss not being more a part of Butler County issues as opposed to statewide issues."

The switch could occur this year or next year.

The Butler County GOP's Central Committee would appoint Jolivette county commissioner and the party's Central and Executive committees would recommend Combs be appointed to replace Jolivette.

Steve Kemme

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One of the guys: While growing up in the village of Greenhills, John McDaniel had certain perceptions about the lives of councilmen.

"They were the funny-looking guys who mowed their lawns in dark socks," he said.

But now McDaniel's a ripe old 37 years of age and a Fifth Third Bank attorney to boot. Councilunanimously appointed him last week. McDaniel replaces George Fecher, who retired.

For those who still haven't caught a glimpse of the new councilman, just look for what seems to be the signature sign of the Village Council members.

"When I go out to mow the yard, I'll try not to wear the dark socks. But I know I'll forget," McDaniel said.

He is already planning a run in the November election and will focus on revitalization and redevelopment issues during his tenure.

Susan Vela

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Bicentennial money flap: Liberty Township Trustees Christine Matacic and David Kern have taken Trustee Bob Shelley to task for trying to spend township money for an upcoming Ohio Bicentennial event - without consulting them.

Shelley raised $13,520 from local businesses for Butler County's July 4-5 Bicentennial Bell casting in Liberty Township. The money is set aside in the township's general fund.

"It was a misjudgment on my part," Shelley conceded. "I understand we need a consensus with township funds and an auditable tracking of it."

The issue arose after Shelley directed the township clerk to prepare checks from the fund to purchase 10 souvenir bells for $1,820 and to place an ad in a magazine about a car show that will be held July 5.

Matacic and Kern have asked him for a budget and copy of bills for their approval.

Jennifer Edwards

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April Fools: Deerfield Township Trustee Bill Morand caught everyone off guard at an unusually short trustee meeting April 1.

The trustees, whose meetings have been known to run into the early-morning hours, seemed pleasantly surprised when they were done by 8:35 p.m.

Then Morand announced "four brief items."He added an "April Fool" and the meeting adjourned.

Erica Solvig

Jennifer Edwards at jedwards@enquirer.com, fax 755-4147 or call 755-4147.




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