Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley will not run for re-election in 2018, he announced in an exclusive interview with this newspaper on Tuesday.
Foley, 52, said he will serve out his term and work on several projects, including helping close a projected $9 million 2019 budget hole expected due to expiration of the Medicaid managed care tax.
“I’ve served as an elected official for 17 years. I’m grateful personally and professionally for the trust that voters have placed in me, both as a commissioner and prior to that as clerk of courts,” Foley said. “I’m proud of the work I’ve done as a commissioner and with my colleagues in the county.”
Foley became a commissioner in January 2007. He was appointed clerk of courts in 2000 and later won election, serving until he became a commissioner.
Foley is one of the three Democrats on the commission and his decision to leave could give the Republican Party a chance to regain a seat on the commission for the first time in a decade. Foley narrowly won re-election his last two campaigns.
The job pays $102,897 annually.
“I think Dan has contributed a lot of our community. His will be big shoes to fill,” said Mark Owens, chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. “We also have some excellent people that can come in and fill those shoes.”
Owens expects the party will endorse someone to run in January.
“I think based on what we do for the community and what we stand for I think we are in a better position to hold (the seat),” Owens said.
Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Phil Plummer could not be reached for comment.
Also this week, Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Greg Brush announced he will retire Oct. 31 to take another job. Brush, a Democrat, replaced Foley as clerk.
Commissioner Debbie Lieberman said of Foley: “Dan is and will continue to be an asset to this community. We are proud of the work we have done together on multiple initiatives including right-sizing county government to work more effectively and efficiently for our citizens, growing our local companies and diversifying our economy to attract new and emerging businesses.”
Commissioner Judy Dodge added: “Dan has been a champion in our efforts to grow new jobs by attracting logistics and advanced manufacturing employers to Montgomery County including Fuyao, Caterpillar, General Electric and Emerson Climate Technologies. He also spearheaded the largest single economic development investment in Jefferson Township with the move of the fairgrounds.”
Foley said he does not have a specific job lined up, nor will he rule out a future run for public office.
“For me it’s time for a new chapter in life. I’m looking forward to being involved in the community, just in a different role,” Foley said.
During his final 15 months in office he hopes work on bail reform, the opioid battle and redevelopment of the former United Theological Seminary.
He said he’s proud to have helped “right-sized county government,” during his years in office.
“We have the same budget we had in 2001,” he said.
“On the economic front I feel like I’ve worked hard to try to put more eggs in more baskets economically,” Foley said.
He said he is also proud of the fairgrounds redevelopment project, which involved moving the fairgrounds to Jefferson Twp. and a proposed new development on the current site in Dayton.
He also cited the development of Justice Web, a criminal justice database that was started when he was clerk of courts.
In 2015 Foley spearheaded the failed Dayton Together effort to get the city of Dayton and Montgomery County governments to merge.
“We certainly took some lumps and we got rejected, but if I hadn’t advocated for that I would have felt like I wasn’t doing my job,” Foley said. “Sometimes it’s important to advocate for new ideas even if they’re not easy.”