3 candidates seeking to fill 2 Clearcreek Twp. trustee seats

The Nov. 7 election could change leadership of this important Warren County township after 40 years.

The 10th reelection of Clearcreek Twp. Trustee Ed Wade is being contested in a race with Trustee Steve Muterspaw - who received more votes than Wade four years ago - and Linda Oda, the township’s fiscal officer and the Warren County Recorder.

RELATED: Newcomer, three veterans run for two trustee seats

Two of three trustee seats are up for election.

Wade and the third trustee, Jason Gabbard, generally comprise the majority on split votes in the township also encompassing the city of Springboro.

All three candidates agree the trustees are in accord on about 95 percent of issues that come before them and that Muterspaw is typically in the minority on split votes.

Check Voters Guide for more on this and other races and issues

“That other five percent is big,” said Oda, who would have to resign as township fiscal officer if elected trustee.

Already a thriving residential community, Clearcreek Twp. borders Springboro, Montgomery County and the Austin Landing area, where commercial development is under way.

Also the historically rural township area of Red Lion, between Springboro and Mason, is under residential development, with a commercial downtown area in recently completed future plans for this area.

MORE: Development changing Warren County town

The trustees oversee township services, including fire protection, emergency rescue and ambulance response in Springboro and unincorporated areas of the township.

They serve four-year terms and are paid $22,796 annually.

Voters from the unincorporated township and within municipal limits vote on the trustee race, although township voters can’t cast ballots on city candidates or issues.

The trustee candidates also agree that the township is unlikely to need to pass levies for additional operating money in the near future.

Wade wants voters to pick him, based primarily on his experience gained in 40 years as a trustee.

"It is that experience along with my dedication and love of this community that makes me the best candidate to make effective and informed decisions for the future," he said in a response for the Dayton Daily News Voters Guide.

Oda said she is running to be part of a new majority on contested issues, primarily involving expenses, with Muterspaw.

Muterspaw said he is ready for another four years, working with Gabbard and Wade or Oda.

“I’ve demonstrated I’m able to work with anyone,” he said. “We just need to fine tune and keep doing what we’re doing.”

Muterspaw said voters should reelect him to second term in recognition of changes in the township, including greater transparency and an end to ethical issues, since he took office.

RELATED: Wade won’t face criminal charges

Wade pointed out ethics questions related to his insurance business with the township raised in a 2008-2009 audit (after Oda pointed them out) found no violations of state law.

“It is just plain, old dirty politics to continue to throw dirt about a claim that has been found to be totally unfounded,” Wade said in a statement.

RELATED: Twp. ordered to pay $200,000 in open-meetings case

Turning to an open-meetings lawsuit that ended with the township ordered to pay almost $200,000 to lawyers representing the resident who claimed the violations, Wade said Oda was “sneaky and self-serving” to support the the lawsuit against the township she was elected to represent.

Oda pointed out the ethics question prompted an 18-month state investigation and was referred for prosecution, before being dismissed by a special prosecutor.

“He stopped his practice of selling insurance to the township,” Oda said, adding she had brought the open-meeting question to the attention of the township administrator and another trustee before supporting the lawsuit.

Oda said the total cost of the lawsuit to the township was closer to $300,000.

She urged voters to pick her to enable her to use her “thousands of hours righting the ship in the fiscal office and bringing Clearcreek Twp. into the 21st century” to help her make the right votes on key issues.

In retrospect, Wade said he “may very well have handled” differently a 2013 levy for additional fire department levy money for which Oda criticized him in a response to the Dayton Daily News Voters Guide. Voters rejected the new levy and the fire department has been able to continue answering calls in Springboro and the township.

Depending on the election result, all three candidates could remain in office.

“Let’s hope by Nov. 18 we can all move forward as friends,” Oda said referring to the final vote tally after which she would resign as fiscal officer, if elected trustee.

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