CARDINGTON — The Republican candidates for Morrow County Commissioner took time at the County Candidates Forum to define how they stand on the issue of the Morrow County Hospital.
• Tim Abraham, candidate for term Jan. 3, 2021, said he checked out the commissioners’ information and then got on the Avita website. He attended hospital board meetings and after looking at both sides said, “I stand with the hospital board.”
He sees growth coming in the county and “wants to work with county villages. He believes it is important to have involvement and give back to the community.”
Abraham served two terms on Cardington Village Council and currently serves on the Republican Central Committee. He has experience as a former firefighter, EMS, and in law enforcement as a Sheriff’s deputy and Mount Gilead Police officer. He has worked in construction and at Adena Corporation since 2003.
• Commissioner Warren Davis is also running for re-election for the term starting Jan. 3, 2021. He emphasized that it is his goal to expand healthcare for Morrow County.
Davis has had 20 years in county involvement as a township trustee and Trustee Association Chairman, as well as boards for zoning, regional planning, seniors, Soil and Water Conservation Board, and 911 board. He is the only county commissioner in the state on the Farmland Preservation Advisory Board.
“It is our goal for the hospital to stay in business,” Davis said. “We want to sit down with the hospital board and work out our questions. The commissioners want to continue the expansion and progress we have achieved in the last three years for our county.”
• For the term that begins Jan. 2, 2021, incumbent Burgess Castle said he is not advocating for any one hospital system. He is concerned that the present hospital contract states conditions in 10 places for closing the hospital with no plans for expansion of services.
Castle noted that as a commissioner, he has kept his promises to work to improve county roads, have a conservative budget and adequately fund department requests. He has also worked to increase grant writing, increase county office hours and expand emergency services.
He has had three businesses in the county and served on the fire board eight years, board of zoning appeals eight years, and was a township trustee nine years.
• “The hospital is the hot topic,” said Vanessa Gingerich, who is also running for term Jan. 2, 2021.
“I have listened to both sides on the issue of the hospital,” Gingerich. “I believe there is a way to work with this.”
Gingerich has worked with people and the public for more than 25 years.
“I have experience that is much needed for being a County Commissioner, with communication skills and working with various personalities and situations that arise.
I believe communication is a key element, something that is missing and something that I plan to resolve by being present and keeping the doors of communication open between myself, the Officials in our County, and with our Citizens.”
Gingerich has presided on the Ag Board, FCS Board and 4-H Advisory Board in Morrow County.
• Tim Siegfried, also running for the term beginning Jan. 2, 2021, gave his opinion.
“We need the hospital. How we do it is up in the air. The commissioners appoint the board and keep trying to keep it open.”
Siegfried says his experience in education as a teacher and administrator would be helpful in working with people as a commissioner. He started teaching at Highland in 1980 and taught there for 10 years before having the position of Elementary Curriculum Supervisor for the Morrow County Office. He taught and was a principal at Waldo and Heritage Elementary in the River Valley Schools District from 1994-2010.
“Since retiring from education I decided it is a good time to give back to the community,” Siegfried said.
• The lone Democrat for County Commissioner at the forum, Michael Baker, is unopposed until the fall election.
He noted that a lot of growth is coming to the county. He said it is important to look at tax abatements given to businesses carefully because first responders and sheriff’s deputies depend on the taxes.
Baker served as Mayor of Marengo six years and owns Baker Service and Sales in Marengo. He worked for many years in a Columbus paper mill where he had experience in union negotiations. He said his experience in negotiations would be a benefit as a commissioner in negotiating better business agreements for the county.
Baker said his priorities would be to work with the Sheriff’s Office and first responders to see that they have what they need.