PDT Staff Writer
At the Thursday meeting of the Scioto County Commissioners, Robert Cole was appointed as the newest member of the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA).
Cole is the business manager for the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 577. The commissioners appointed Cole to fill the seat left vacant by Kenneth Ruggles.
“I’m looking forward to doing whatever I can do on my end to help the community. I’m going to try to do anything I can to do my fair share to help the community,” Cole said. “I’ve lived here my whole life and southern Ohio needs some help.”
Cole said there was a mutual feeling when the commissioners decided to appoint him to the Port Authority.
“I’m looking forward to the work ahead and doing anything I can to help out,” Cole said.
Earlier this year the commissioners expanded the membership of SOPA from 11 to 21 members.
Mike Crabtree, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners said, expanding the number of members does not indicate a change in mission or purpose for SOPA.
“No matter what we do in life we’re always trying to figure out better and efficient ways of doing things. I don’t think the purpose has changed,” Crabtree said. “Scioto County has kind of been at the end of the line, it seems, like for the last 60 years. I have a lot of friends and relatives who drive a hundred miles to work everyday. I don’t think there is anyone in Scioto County who does not want jobs and opportunities here. So, if what we are doing here can help boost or enhance that a little, that’s what our purpose is. We’re not here to throw the baby out with the bath water, we’re here to do something that will maybe make the Port Authorities job a little easier.”
Earlier this year the SOPA board also elected new leadership, Scioto County Interim Economic Development Director Todd Book was elected chairman and Rodney Barnett was elected Vice-Chairman. Dan Cassidy was made Secretary/Treasurer and Loretta McClure Vice-Secretary/Treasurer.
“I’m excited but, I also realize this is a big obligation. I know the people of the community are looking for some new direction, some change and some economic development activities,” Book said. “The charge from the county commissioners is to use this group as a centerpiece of economic development in the community. I think that’s a serious obligation and all of us on the board are excited to fulfill that obligation.”
Previous to the reorganization Scioto County Community Action Organization CEO Bill Thacker had been serving as chairman of the organization due to a resignation of board chairman earlier in 2012.
“We’re heading off into new territory here, and I am excited to be a part of that. I expect a lot from everyone in the group. We have a lot of work to do and we have a lot of people counting on what happens here,” Book told the SOPA board.
On Tuesday, Crabtree said there was one spot remaining on the SOPA board.
The next meeting of the Southern Ohio Port Authority is set for Aug. 15 at the ADAMHS offices located at 919 Seventh Street in Portsmouth.
For more information about SOPA visit them on Facebook.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.