Delaware County Commissioner Gary Merrell will lead the board of commissioners in 2014.
Merrell was unanimously tapped to serve as president of the board on Monday, January 13 .
The first-term commissioners said the appointment is “not something I take lightly.”
“I see my role as president as one of a facilitator,” he said.”My success or failure is largely dependent on the three of us putting our personal interests aside and putting our county first.”
Merrell will succeed Commissioner Ken O’Brien, who served as president in 2013. It was O’Brien’s first opportunity to hold the gavel in his five years on the board.
“I think he’s provided outstanding leadership in 2013,” Merrell said. “I appreciate the opportunity to observe and learn from that.”
O’Brien took over a board that had featured frequent public in-fighting, often between himself and former Commissioner Tommy Thompson. However, once O’Brien took the gavel, and Thompson was unseated by Merrell, the acrimony lessened.
Merrell said he hopes to continue that in 2014.
“My success or failure is largely dependent on the three of us putting personal interests aside and putting our county first,” he said. “I believe honest, polite diversity of opinion is healthy. Only we, as commissioners, have the ability to make it negative by our actions,”
Merrell said one of his top priorities in 2014 is to reach an agreement with the City of Delaware on the completion of Sawmill Parkway.
“All the projects to be considered are important to our county residents and I promise to give them top priority,” he said.
Commissioners Dennis Stapleton was selected to serve as vice president of the board in 2014. The vote was 2-1 in favor, with O’Brien casting the “no” vote.