3 vie for 2 Springfield Twp. trustee seats

Three people are seeking two seats on the Springfield Twp. board of trustees, including two incumbents and a longtime township fire chief.

Springfield Twp. is the third-largest township in Clark County, with more than 12,000 residents, according to Census data. Voters will go to the polls to elect their township trustees on Nov. 7.

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The Springfield News-Sun asked candidates for competitive races to fill out the Online Voter’s Guide. These are the response for the Springfield Twp. trustee candidates.

John Roeder

Operational Manager, Ohio Edison Co.

Biographical Information

Experience: 40 years with Ohio Edison Co., last 20 years in management. More than 43 years serving the Springfield Twp. Fire Department and the last 13 years as fire chief, managing a department of 80 personnel with a budget of about $2.5 million.

I have served under and worked with 12 trustees, attending 90 percent of meetings in the past 13 years. I have a better understanding of the working of the township and the boundaries than most serving now.

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Education: Graduate of Shawnee High School; attended Clark State Community College; Ohio Edison Management School; various fire schools, including State Fire Instructor.

Jim Scoby

Teacher and Coach; Sports Broadcaster

Biographical Information

Experience: Springfield Twp. Trustee; 16 years of leadership since 2000. President of the Clark County Traffic Safety Council for 16 years; teacher, counselor and coach for 37 years with Springfield City Schools. I am a former tennis coach at Shawnee for five years and put in team sports hall of fame in 2017.

I am a former basketball coach at University of Dayton and Wittenberg University, and owner of MSA Sports Radio and broadcast high school and Wittenberg sports. I worked as an English teacher in China and was a missionary in Thailand right after college.

Education: Springfield South High School graduate, class of 1974; Anderson College graduate in education; University of Dayton for Master’s in counseling in 1985; Ohio Township Association Leadership Academy in 2006.

R. Dean Wells

Didn’t respond to Springfield News-Sun Voter’s Guide request.

What are the biggest problems facing the community? What do you propose doing to tackle these challenges?

Roeder: As with most townships, shrinking budgets and rising costs are a major issue. Over the last five years the townships have seen a decrease in state-shared income. Additionally, road repair costs have risen but tax levy income and gasoline tax revenue have remained at the same level.

To counter decreasing revenue and rising costs will require working with the staff to examine all fixed and variable expenses to find savings. The Ohio Revised Code mandates that the township maintain roads in good repair, free of snow and ice and other hazards. With rising costs, I will request the road department submit a report detailing the conditions of all 74 miles of township roads.With this report, we can begin prioritizing road repairs where feasible and seek Ohio Pubic Works Commission grants for roads that qualify.

Scoby: First of all we have one of the best townships in the state. Because of our excellence, I will always stand up against regional government take over. I do not want somebody from Cincinnati running our township and telling us what to do in our own backyards.

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I have gone to Columbus and Washington, D.C. to fight to keep our township safe and strong. I will continue to protect all of our citizens. We must continue to be fiscally responsible and continue to make good decisions about equipment for Fire and EMS, road repairs, infrastructure and our cemeteries. In 2018, it will be our 200th bicentennial celebration in Springfield Twp. and I will continue to promote, “People, Pride and Progress!”

What makes you qualified for this job? What experience do you have to make good and informed decisions?

Roeder: I have worked for Ohio Edison for 40 years and currently hold the position as operational manager, which requires adhering to budgets and effectively communicating with senior management.

I manage 30 employees, set the schedules and work flows, then be prepared to re-prioritize projects after storms that disrupt power to residents. I communicate with the staff seeking their input on projects as well, as what they need me to do for them.

After 13 years, I retired as fire chief of Springfield Twp. Fire/EMS Department. As chief, I was responsible for a $2.5 million budget, so I consistently met with staff to seek suggestions on what we need to do to improve service to the township residents. The result was we scheduled two medics at two firehouses 24 hours a day and seven days a week, improved our fire equipment, and did fire training resulting in lowering the insurance rating for residents. The lower rating directly affects homeowner insurance rates. All of this was accomplished while staying under budget. I will utilize my management experience to effectively communicate with the other trustees, staff and most importantly with the residents of Springfield Twp. to seek forward-thinking suggestions on how to improve service to the township residents.

Scoby: I have been a Springfield Twp. trustee for 16 years of dedicated service. I have made the hard decisions to fight annexation, stand for restoring positive financial audits, helping the township go from three fire departments to one, and helping to make Springfield a place where our children and grandchildren can grow safe and strong. I have a background of working with people from all backgrounds as a teacher, counselor and coach for 37 years. I own a sports radio business and work with many other businesses in Clark County. I am on the Chamber of Greater Springfield visitors board and work with all county agencies. I am the former president of the traffic safety board.

What can you do if elected to help grow the local economy and add jobs? What ideas do you have for attracting new jobs and investment?

Roeder: As a trustee, I will support business growth in the township. I will work with the zoning department to ensure our zoning requirements are not over-restrictive to business development but at the same time provide adequate protection to the residents. Additionally, as a trustee, we need to support a strong Clark-Shawnee Local School District.

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Scoby: The greatest plus for growing our economy is the foundation of what Springfield Twp. stands on. We have superior schools, new public facilities with the best equipment for administration, Fire/EMS, and dedicated workers for snow/brush pick up. We have great resources and a perfect location on I-70 for continued growth for attracting new jobs and investment.

What would you do if elected to make life better for residents?

Roeder: As a trustee, I will reach out and meet with township residents to seek ideas on improvement of service that will work, given the budget restrictions we face. The safety of the residents should be a trustee's top priority. I will work with Capitol Electronics to see the feasibility and proposal cost of installing tornado sirens, which many of our surrounding townships have. If feasible, I will seek state and federal grant dollars to install the sirens in the township.

Also I will seek out ways and funds to hopefully add one or two deputies to patrol the streets of the township and help counter the rising drug problem we all face.

Scoby: I will continue to keep our financial steadiness of responsibility but look for grants along with state and national funding to enhance what we already have and I will continue to strengthen our roads and infrastructure. Also, I will make our incredible facilities available for the citizens to use for their families.

What is your top priority if elected?

Roeder: I grew up and have lived in Springfield Twp. my entire life. I have been married 39 years to my wife, Cari, have two sons and three grandchildren, all that live in the township with everyone attending Clark-Shawnee Local Schools.

I have been involved with Springfield Twp. all of my adult life, whether it was as a seasonal road worker, volunteer firefighter for 43-plus years and finally as fire chief the last 13 years. I am always engaged, as evidenced by the time I have spent working for township residents.

I hold a CDL license, which will enable me to assist the road crew when needed on long snow days and nights as trustees in other townships do. As a trustee, I will maintain office hours, attend public meetings, work to increase public participation and encourage employee engagement to improve the township. What I want the residents of Springfield Twp. to know is that I will personally be involved with you. I will return your calls, not someone else. I will meet with you to discuss your problems or issues you may have, not someone else. I will be actively involved with every accept of the township. I am a hands-on person that cares about the township I have lived in my whole life.

Scoby: I want to continue to protect our township from regional government takeover. I want to continue to stay fiscally responsible and always put people first and build upon our safe and strong township.

Also I want to build upon our Springfield Twp. traditional values of faith, family and freedom.

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