Weigle, Bosel to serve second terms

LISBON — Columbiana County Commissioner Tim Weigle and county Recorder Theresa Bosel were easily re-elected to second terms during Tuesday’s election.

According to complete, but unofficial results, from the Columbiana County Board of Elections,  Weigle defeated Beaver Local school board president Jerry Barnett, 67.3 percent to 32.7 percent, while Bosel beat Madison Township Fiscal Officer Tiffany Chetock, 61 percent to 39 percent.

Barnett and Chetock, both Democrats, were making their first runs for countywide office.

Weigle and Bosel are Republicans, and many political observers expected the recorder race to be the closer of the two, what with the aggressive campaign involving public records requests waged on their behalf by the respective party chairmen during the final weeks leading up to the election.

There were no last-second fireworks in the only contested commissioner race. Weigle, 64, was first elected in 2012 by winning nearly 48 percent in a three-way race. As president of the county 911 advisory committee, he was instrumental in switching to Next Generation 911, which will allow 911 system to accept text messages, videos and photographs.

Weigle, with the support of commissioners, created a county 911 director job instead of continuing to contract out for the service and made the position part of the county Emergency Management Agency, saving an estimated $70,000 a year.

He voted to provide the county Drug Task Force with $100,000 annually to help police departments with the cost of assigning officers to the DTF. Weigle also supported creation of the county land bank program, with the county being awarded $3.2 million in federal grants in the past two years to demolish up to 200 dilapidated and abandoned homes.

Bosel, 44, won a close election in 2012, garnering 50.4 percent of the vote. After an admittedly rocky start, Bosel said she was able to streamline operations without adding staff and increased the balance in the equipment fund to $117,000, mostly by canceling some vendor contracts and renegotiating others. She expects to save even more by switching to a new software provider for the office operating system.

Chetock criticized Bosel’s handling of public records’ requests from companies wanting to electronic copies of recorder documents, which resulted in legal action being taken. Bosel agreed to pay $5,000 in attorney fees to resolve the first dispute, but she decided to fight the second dispute, which is currently pending before the Ohio Supreme Court. Bosel said companies are not entitled to broad unspecific requests for public documents and she is confident the court will rule in her favor.

During her second term, Bosel expects to have all documents digitized and available online. Electronic recording will also be available with the new operating system, allowing the public to file documents from their home or office for a fee.