Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:21PM - 157 Views

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Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

The Scioto County Commissioners held a re-organizational meeting Monday to elect a new chairman and vice-chairman of the board. Commissioner Mike Crabtree was elected chairman with Commissioner Doug Coleman elected vice-chairman.

Upon being elected, Crabtree said, the commissioners’ first priority is economic development.

“Economic development is top priority for me and the rest of the commissioners. The (southern Ohio) Port Authority is one of the main tools of economic development. The commissioners and the Port Authority need to work closely together,” Crabtree said. “Port Authority members are appointed by county commissioners and act on our behalf. The Port Authority does not dictate the agenda, the county commissioners do.”

Before his departure, former Scioto County Commissioner Tom Reiser was working to form an organization with a public-private partnership for economic development. This included involvement from the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA).

Both Crabtree and Scioto County Commissioner Doug Coleman have been quoted as saying the organization needs to change.

With the recent resignation of SOPA chairman Mick Sturgill, Crabtree called for a renewed working relationship with the Port Authority and its members.

Crabtree said a good working relationship between the two organizations is crucial and the potential benefits of the Port Authority are important to the county.

“I will do whatever is necessary to ensure the Port Authority is working for the best interest of the county. I was disappointed by the comments made by the outgoing chairman of the Port Authority. I think those comments are proof positive that further changes need to occur, to make sure we have a functioning Port Authority,” Crabtree said.

He said anything that’s done with the Port Authority will not be done for political reasons.

“We are going to be meeting with members of the Port Authority over the next few days and see what role they may play in that. We want to make sure that everyone that stays on the Port Authority is on the same page and intends to work with us and a new board,” Crabtree said.

Crabtree said there is a new board of county commissioners with a new member and new leadership.

“I know in the past Tom (Reiser) has been the key figure on the Port Authority, representing the board of county commissioners. I do not intend on taking this opportunity to take stabs at anyone. From some of the remarks that have been made in the paper, certainly there is a bit of animosity between the Port Authority and me and possibly Doug,” Crabtree said. “I think that’s unfair because until this day and until this moment in time, I was not in charge here. Skip has been the chairman.”

Crabtree said the county is looking to hire an economic development director and will take steps in the near future to hire someone on an interim basis.

“We’re going to have to do something to put an interim director in place because we need to have eyes and ears for us and representing us on those meetings,” Crabtree said. “I hope that we can move forward from today and act in the best interest of the county.”

Also during the meeting the commissioners established their meeting times as Tuesday and Thursday of each week at 9:30 a.m. in room 107 of the Scioto County Court House.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com.

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