Thursday, April 24, 2003

Butler Republican fund-raiser features Fox roast

Suburban Insider

The Butler County Young Republicans Club is serving up a juicy dish at this year's roast: Commissioner Mike Fox.

The annual event, the club's main fund-raiser, pokes fun at and honors a distinguished Butler County leader.

"This year, we are delighted to have the opportunity to roast Commissioner Fox," said Scott Lepsky, the club's treasurer.

The 29-year veteran politician has been in the middle of many issues - particularly as he fought for his pet project, a proposed eastward interchange off the Michael A. Fox Highway (named for him) at Interstate 75 in Liberty Township.

"Being roasted is just like another day at the office," Fox cracked. "I'm what a roaster calls a target-rich environment."

First, he received a public tongue-lashing in August from Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and then battled last fall with Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley.

At one point, Fox even warned that Butler County would "raid" Cincinnati's businesses to make up for lost jobs and tax revenue if Cranley made good on his pledge to kill the interchange project.

Taft most likely will be too busy to make the soiree. Besides, he already helped roast Fox 10 years ago at a similar event.

But Cranley may get an invite.

Fox will be roasted by some of those who know him best: Joe Statzer, Butler County's Republican executive director; Butler County Chief Deputy Sheriff Rick Jones; and two men who were active in Fox's early political days at the Statehouse, Rick Segall and Bob Quisenberry.

"We are hoping for some good stories. I don't think we'll be disappointed," Lepsky said. "He's got so much history, from his initial run to the state Legislature and being a key political figure there to bringing that same mentality and fight back home to Butler County."

The 6 p.m. event will take place May 28 at Receptions on Boymel Drive in Fairfield. Tickets cost $40 each. Call: 893-5292.

Jennifer Edwards


Liberty Township bickering II: The squabbling among trustees continues in Liberty Township, only now it's spilled over into e-mails.

Recently, the leaders of this fast-growing community clashed over expenditures for the county's bicentennial celebration. Now, they are butting heads over the March termination of the township's road foreman. The man was dismissed, trustees said, because he wasn't doing his job.

Trustee Bob Shelley wanted to be present when the foreman was fired. But Trustees Christine Matacic and Acting Administrator Barry Tiffany informed the man of his termination.

So, Shelley fired off an e-mail complaining to Trustee David Kern and Matacic to which Kern promptly replied:

"Maybe Chris was concerned that Mike would receive a secret phone call and come down with a sudden disability and cost the township a ton of money and grief," Kern sarcastically wrote in an e-mail obtained by the Enquirer. Kern was referring to former administrator Nell Kilpatrick's abrupt sick leave earlier this year - the day after trustees met behind closed doors to discuss their displeasure with her performance.

Kern and Matacic suspect Shelley, who hired Kilpatrick in 1998 and was her biggest ally, tipped her off that she about to be pushed out.

After about a three-week sick leave, Kilpatrick resigned effective March 1. She and her attorney brokered an agreement with the township to remain on part-time through August so she could qualify for her state public employee retirement money, Shelley has said.

"Bob, the real issue is that the road department has been your private fiefdom and it cannot and will not continue like that," Kern's e-mail continued.

Shelley fired back:

"Dave, you are getting more paranoid and bitter each passing day," his e-mail reads. "If you are referring to Nell being sick, I made no phone call to her ... nor do I know of a 'secret phone call' ... I can produce my phone records for all the phones I own and no calls were made.

"You have all the cards and I will play by your rules, until changes are made," the e-mail continues. "But if the roads department is my fiefdom (You love that word, don't you?), then the fire department must surely be yours and the parks are Chris' fiefdom."

Jennifer Edwards


Blackwell in Butler County: Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell will be keynote speaker at the Rotary Club of West Chester's 7:30 a.m. breakfast meeting May 2 at the Beckett Ridge Country Club.

As Ohio's 51st secretary of state, Blackwell is the state's constitutional officer chiefly responsible for elections, the management of business records and the protection of intellectual property and corporate identities.

Seating will be limited to a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets cost $10 each.

Jennifer Edwards

Send insider news and tips to reporter Jennifer Edwards at or fax to 755-4150 or call 755-4147.

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