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The Suburbanite
  • Stark County commissioners, Feb. 27 meeting

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  • KEY ACTION Said goodbye to Administrator Michael Hanke, whose last day is Friday.
    DISCUSSION Commissioners thanked Hanke, who was hired in December 2007, for his leadership during one of the county’s most difficult times, which included the imposition and subsequent voter repeal of a county sales tax and the $2.96 million theft from the Stark County Treasurer’s Office.
    “You certainly were a part of the righting of county government,” Commissioner Richard Regula said.
    Hanke, who wrote and often criticized government and public employees as a reporter, editor and general manager at The Repository for 35 years before becoming a county employee, said he chose to retire now because county government is starting a new chapter due to the passage of the half-percent sales tax that has stabilized county finances.
    “It will be good to have a new person in the job that will have the opportunity to start as things get better,” Hanke, 63, said.
    He added that he’s ready to travel, read and relax after 40 years of work, although he didn’t rule out returning to the workforce on a part-time basis, likely in the private sector.
    Hanke’s successor, Brant Luther, started as county administrator Monday.
    OTHER ACTION
    • Removed real-estate mortgages as a form of collateral that a contractor could use to guarantee that a project is completed satisfactorily. Since the collapse of the real estate market in 2007, commissioners have increasingly encountered situations where a performance or maintenance bond that was secured by a real-estate mortgage was no longer sufficient enough to cover a developer’s unfinished work or a developer who went bankrupt. Acceptable forms of collateral now include: A commercial bond issued by a licensed and certified bonding company; a letter of financial credit; or a deposit of funds held in escrow.
    • Hired Oglesby Construction of Norwalk for $163,638 for the Stark County Engineer’s pavement striping program. The County Engineers Association of Ohio will pay up to $150,000 with the rest of the money to come from the engineer’s motor vehicle funds.
    • Hired Traffic Safety Analysis Systems & Service for $15,300 to conduct traffic safety studies for the Stark County Engineer’s Office.
    • Extended the completion date from Oct. 10 to Oct. 31 for the Mill Street SE bridge replacement project due to the discovery of contaminated soil. The project, which will replace and relocate a bridge built in 1956, also will increase in cost by $64,712 to $1.66 million.
    • Held a closed-door session with Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Ross Rhodes and benefits coordinator Carol Hayn to discuss possible or pending litigation with no action taken.
    UP NEXT Meet at 10 a.m. Monday for a work session on the second floor of the Stark County Office Building at 110 Central Plaza S in Canton.