A night for farewells at New Philadelphia Council

A night for farewells at New Philadelphia Council

Image Credit: Lori Feeney

There wasn’t much business to take care of at the Dec. 28 meeting of New Philadelphia City Council, save for that of saying good-bye to two long-term council members and three longtime city employees upon their retirements.

Ward 2 councilman John Zucal and Ward 4 councilman Rob Maurer were given the Keys to the City after serving 12 and 20 years, respectively. Mayor Joel Day was absent, so Don Kemp, council president, presented the two with the honors.

The two also were given special plaques, and resolutions were passed commending their years of service to the city and the citizens of New Philadelphia.

In remarks to council, Zucal said some of his best friends were on council, particularly calling out councilman Dean Holland. “He’s from a different party than I am, but the friendship I developed with Mr. Holland, I will always treasure.”

Zucal also shared a few words of advice for new council members coming aboard in 2022, Jim Seldenright, Jr. and Mitchell Pace.

“The moment you take that oath of office gentlemen, you are no longer a Democrat or a Republican,” Zucal said. “You’re a servant to the citizens of New Philadelphia.”

Zucal went on to say, in congratulating Maurer, “That’s been lost, I think, in federal government and state government. People are taking sides, and that’s not what the citizens of New Philadelphia want. We always worked together really well, and I’m proud to call you a friend.”

Maurer recalled that his daughter, who will be a senior in high school, was only 16 months old when he came on council, and his son is now in college. He also recalled current city law director Marvin Fete recruiting him to run on council and helping him along the way.

“It’s been a great ride,” Maurer said. “I was always taught to leave things better than when you got there, and I hope the city’s better.”

Councilwoman Aimee May said the city is “100% better” from Maurer joining council.

Heartfelt words of appreciation

In the mayor’s report read by Kemp, Day thanked Maurer and Zucal. “They were never bashful about expressing their love for this community and the principle of doing what they believed was the right thing for New Philadelphia. They have played key roles in the city’s growth and were wise stewards of taxpayers’ dollars.”

In recognition of Zucal’s service, council members commended his work to bring about improvements in the city’s safety forces and at Harry Clever Field, along with his dedicated work with the city health department during the pandemic.

Fete cited the bond of friendship he shares with Zucal, wishing him the best in future endeavors.

In remembering his years on council, fellow council members cited Maurer’s ability to take on tough issues while maintaining an even temperament and his commitment to finding common ground with others. Councilman Dan Lanzer said, “I think he’s the biggest bridge builder in this place.”

Zucal commented on Maurer’s diligence, professionalism and willingness to go above and beyond to look at issues through the lens of others.

Others recognized

Others commended for years of dedication and service were as follows:

—Maureen Wenger for 27 years with the city including 13 as the secretary for the service director.

—Jeffrey Erb for 20 years as the city’s information systems specialist.

—Rick Marcaletti for seven years as assistant general services superintendent.

In business

Council approved the request for a new liquor license for Ramos Market and More, with Holland casting the single “no” vote.

Zucal reported a shortage of rapid response test kits for COVID at the city health department and asked the public to avoid repeated testing as others also may need the kits.

Lanzer and city treasurer Tom Gerber, both of whom were re-elected in November, were sworn in by Kemp after a brief executive session was held.