XENIA — Candidates for Xenia Township trustees and Xenia City Council had a chance to state their case for election Thursday night during a forum at the Xenia Adult Recreation and Services Center.
Sponsored by the Greene County Tea Party and moderated by a member of the Greater Dayton League of Women, the forum also included presentations about the three state-wide issues voters will decide.
The township trustees race features three candidates — incumbent Daniel O’Callaghan Jr. and challengers Stephen Combs and Kraig Hagler — running for one spot.
Combs has been a businessman in the county for 37 years and feels that experience makes him a good candidate.
“I’ve pretty much done it all,” he said.
He also said that he has concerns about current township leadership, citing turnover in the fiscal officer office as well as numerous trustees who either didn’t finish their terms or were voted out after a term. He also mentioned one unfilled seat had to be appointed by a judge.
“There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of unity, a lot of cohesion,” he said. “There seems to be some kind of a problem there.” Combs said the lack of unity has led to more “serious” problems particularly money. Combs said his experience in business makes him the best candidate.
O’Callaghan Jr., said he was the trustee appointed by the judge and agreed there has been a lot of discord. He said the judge asked him several times if he was sure he wanted to be appointed. His current job as information security officer at Sinclair Community College has given him experience at conflict management and mediation, he said, adding his job is to say yes and convince other parties that that is the way to go.
O’Callaghan Jr., said the publicized mistake the former fiscal officer made is a result of a computer system designed and endorsed by the auditor’s office but was not user friendly
His simple goal is to let Township residents live their lives and pursue their happiness. He stopped short of addressing perceived problems with the board of trustees.
“I do not want to go negative,” he said.
Hagler, a local banker, said a vote for him is a vote for proven results, team work and accountability. At a young age he said he learned about work ethic solving problems when he was growing pumpkins and had to figure out how to harvest them.
“Xenia Township needs that,” he said.
When he started at his bank branch it was not highly regarded but since he took over, it is one of the bank’s most successful branches.
“I knew how to problem solve, I knew how to talk to people,” Hagler said, adding that his bank employees work together.
He also feels by sitting on the county’s council on aging that he has a lot of experience managing millions of dollars.
The city council race features five candidates — incumbents John Caupp, Michael Engle, and Dale Louderback and challengers Dr. Edgar Wallace and Sarah Mays — running for four spots.
Wallace read from a prepared statement that he had previously shared at a city council meeting detailing his past which includes jail time on a misdemeanor drug charge. He said his past treatment for alcohol abuse led him to his call for ministry. He said he is willing to speak to anyone about his history while he was an elected official in the Lexington, Ky., area.
“When I was released I was a better man for what I experienced,” he said.
He is also a licensed substance abuse counselor and has been elected to various positions related to being a pastor.
Louderback said there are a lot of great things going on in the city and economic development is his top priority.
“What this city needs is good paying jobs,” he said, adding that some good things are on the horizon, specifically mentioning a possible hotel on Progress Drive and the Rogosin Institute.
He said the negative cash flow the city is facing could be wiped out pretty quickly with the aforementioned good-paying jobs.
“That is my top priority,” he said.
Engle said because of his work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as a division chief developing strategic planning he has the experience necessary to provide strategic leadership to the city.
“I am very familiar with the strategic planning process,” he said.
Engle said council is unified in making Xenia the best it can be by improving the parks and bringing the city the best work force it can. He also said Xenia has roughly a $50 million budget and his work on base has given him experience in working with strained resources and tight budgets.
Mays has been involved in the community for several years, organizing the annual Easter egg hunt and the free Thanksgiving dinner at the senior center. She also serves as vice-chair on the city traffic commission. Her prior experience includes 10 years in fundraising at Cedarville University, where she learned about connecting the right people to the right project.
Her experience as a foster parent taught her about adapting and being a team player and swallowing pride and doing things a different way based on someone’s perspective.
“It just doesn’t have to be my way … this isn’t about me, it’s about you all,” she said.
Caupp was out of town and was unable to attend.