MOUNT GILEAD — The village will begin its search for a new police chief with the upcoming retirement of Brian Zerman.

A letter was read by Mayor Jamie Brucker to village council during its reorganizational meeting Jan. 4.

“I began my career here in 1991,” Zerman wrote. “I passed up opportunities to go elsewhere and make more money because I wanted to stay in Mount Gilead. This is where I grew up.”

His last day will be Jan. 29.

“I want to thank the village for the chance to serve this community and forming friendships that will last a lifetime,” Zerman said.

Brucker said council’s safety committee will begin the process of filling the position once the duties and salary range are finalized. Interviews will be conducted with applicants beginning this month.

In other business:

• Brucker gave the annual State of the Village address, calling his first year as mayor “rewarding, yet challenging.”

“We were very restrained in our spending amid the Covid situation,” he said.

He outlined the positive improvements in the village, including becoming a Tree City for the 27th year, fixing 21 water main breaks and getting a new tanker truck for the fire department.

“We have a bright future ahead for the village of Mount Gilead,” Brucker said.

• Council voted to re-elect Tim Clapper as president.

• Village administrator Derek Allen said a sewer collapse before Christmas behind Hartman Printing was fixed, costing $24,000. Seventy feet of pipe was needed for the repair.

• Fire Chief Chad Swank thanked the village for its cooperation in 2020.

“We had a busy year, taking 430 calls, up 11 percent,” he said.

Swank said equipment continues to arrive as a result of the federal CARES Act funding.

By Anthony Conchel

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