EATON — The City of Eaton welcomed new Mayor Joe Renner and Vice Mayor Dave Kirsch during their organizational meeting on Monday, Dec. 7.
Mayor Renner and Vice Mayor Kirsch were both nominated and appointed 4-0, as councilmember Brad Moore was not present.
Council members are elected officials who appoint the mayor and vice mayor on a yearly basis.
“I’d just like to congratulate both of you – long-term council members, and I look forward to working with you this coming year,” said councilmember and outgoing mayor Gary Wagner, who served as mayor from 2009-2015 and 2017-2020.
Mayor Renner was first elected to Eaton City Council in 1997, serving for 10 years before joining the Eaton Community Schools Board of Education for eight years.
He was then elected back to the council where he’s remained for the last five years; a total of 15 years in service to the City of Eaton, though that is only through his work with the council.
Beyond that, Mayor Renner retired earlier this year from the Preble County Sheriff’s Office after a decorated 38-plus year career.
Due to his work with the PCSO, Mayor Renner was unable to pursue the mayor’s seat according to the Ohio Revised Code Section 311.04, which says deputy sheriffs may not serve as mayor.
After his retirement, however, he was given the green light to throw his name in the hat.
“There was a discussion before about being mayor, but I couldn’t do it,” he said. “So, now being retired, I could do it.”
Mayor Renner’s appointment is set to last through Dec. 6, 2021, but could come to an end early depending on who takes Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech’s commission seat in January.
Renner is one of the multiple candidates being considered for Creech’s seat by the Preble County Republican Party, and if appointed to the commission, Renner would begin his duties in the Preble County Courthouse in mid-January.
“In a way, it sounds bad to seek [mayor] when you’re seeking [county commissioner] too, but I think my dedication to the city is pretty obvious,” Renner said. “I’ve been here a long time, and my attendance is, if it’s not 100 percent, it’s 99.9 percent, so I’m fully vested and I will be until I either get or don’t get the commissioner’s seat and I continue here. I’ll be just as busy with it as I’ve ever been.”
This would leave the vacant mayor seat to Vice Mayor Kirsch, who served as mayor for two years between 2015 and 2017.
“It is kind of an odd situation that we find ourselves I think, but we kind of talked over among ourselves, and I think everybody felt comfortable that Dave has been mayor before, and he’s willing to step into it again,” Renner said.
If Mayor Renner is not appointed as one of Preble County’s commissioners, he views his mayoral responsibilities as a long-term commitment.
“I don’t see myself leaving council, and of course, this is elected yearly, so it’s up to the members of course what they do, but I would see it that way,” he said.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles