CLAY TOWNSHIP — Two of three trustees abruptly resigned on Thursday, Jan. 11.
Resigning were Dale Winner, who served as trustee chairman, and Duane Heuker, who was elected to the seat in the Nov. 7, 2023 election.
The remaining trustee is Kyle Groh, who was elected to his first term in the Nov. 7 election.
In addition to the two trustees resignations, Kevin Garlitz quit as the township’s zoning inspector.
According to Clay Township Fiscal Officer Mark Brownfield, neither the two trustees nor Garlitz stated to him their reason for their resignations.
Brownfield also said there was no indication Winner and Heuker planned to resign during the Monday, Jan. 8, meeting and a special meeting held Wednesday, Jan. 10.
Brownfield said the trustees held executive sessions after both meetings. But he said he didn’t know what was discussed because he was not present in the two meetings.
Brownfield indicated neither Winner nor Heuker mentioned anything about resigning at the conclusion of the two executive sessions.
“On Wednesday, they came out of that (executive) meeting and adjourned the meeting and the next day the two trustees resigned,” Brownfield said.
Brownfield said Garlitz, who attended the Jan. 8 meeting, gave no indication he planned to quit.
Brownfield said Garlitz did not attend the Jan. 10 meeting.
Brownfield said Winner, Heuker and Garlitz presented their letters of resignation to him on Jan. 11 because he is the keeper of the records.
“I don’t approve those,” Brownfield said of the resignations. “What I do is write that I received them, but I did not accept or approve the resignations because I don’t have any authority to do that. I’m simply the keeper of the records.”
Brownfield said the next step is to replace Winner and Heuker.
Brownfield indicated a five-member panel made up of Clay township residents will select the replacement for Heuker.
Brownfield said the replacement process, which is allowed by the state of Ohio, was made possible because Heuker selected the five-member panel when he filed with the Montgomery County Board of Elections to run for the position.
“The five-member panel needs to convene and they literally appoint the replacement for the person who left,” Brownfield said.
Brownfield said three of the five members must approve the selection.
Brownfield said if the five members cannot agree on a replacement, a Montgomery County probate judge will make the selection.
Brownfield said the selection must be made within 30 days of Heuker’s resignation.
Brownfield said since Winner didn’t select a five-member panel, Groh and the newly appointed trustee will chose Winner’s replacement.
Winner’s replacement must also be named within 30 days of Winner’s resignation.
The township needs a minimum of two trustees to conduct business. Until a second trustee is appointed, all township business matters have been placed on hold.
Winner’s resignation letter stated: “to Clay Township Board of Trustees: “I am resigning my position of Clay Township Trustee effective immediately. I appreciate greatly the opportunity that was afforded to me by the citizens of the Township to give my service and I stand behind the work that I have done. It was my pleasure to work alongside the staff of the Township. I wish them well.”
Heuker’s resignation letter simply stated “Effective immediately: as of 1-11-24 I resign as Clay Township trustee.”
Winner began serving as a trustee when he replaced Robin Lehman in June of 2015.
Winner was elected to the remaining two years of Lehman’s term in November of 2015.
In 2017, Winner was defeated by Jeff Requarth, who served as trustee until he resigned in June of 2019 due to moving out of the township.
Winner was selected to replace Requarth in July of 2019.
Winner was re-elected as trustee in November of 2021.
Heuker was appointed on July 3, 2023 to replace Brownfield, who resigned as trustee June 1 to assume the township fiscal officer position from Holly Buchanan.
Reach Terry Baver at [email protected].