Volunteer spotlight: Bemus serves community for 45 years

Second longest serving city volunteer

By Kari Egbert - For the Sidney Daily News

Karl Bemus, long-time volunteer with the city of Sidney, is this month’s Volunteer spotlight. Bemus is the second longest serving city volunteer; he began serving with the Civil Service Commission on Jan. 31, 1974. Bemus’s tenure is second only to Mary Jannides, who has been volunteering for the city since 1972. Bemus also continues to serve on the Personnel Board of Appeals; a position he has held since Dec. 15, 1980.

Bemus’s unique experiences with labor unions and employee relations are what led former City Manager Leo Nelson to seek out his expertise.

“I talked at length with the former city manager about the Civil Service Commission and its responsibilities before I decided to go ahead and pursue the opportunity to serve,” Bemus said. “I’m glad I did! It’s been a very rewarding way to give back to my community.”

“Since the 1970s there have been a number of changes in the Civil Service Commission’s responsibilities. In the beginning the members of the Commission did the testing, grading and screening of civil service candidates,” Bemus continued. “Now the testing process is completed by an impartial, professional testing company. We now review the candidate applications and testing results and if appropriate, certify them for hire.”

Bemus shared that while his service has mainly involved the certification of new employees and the promotion of employees, he has had his share of challenges when it comes of hearings of appeals filed by personnel subject to policy changes or work related issues.

“It’s a lot of responsibility. Your decision could impact the employee’s career permanently, but we are bound by the city’s charter as well as state and federal rules and regulations,” he said

“I’m 83 years old this year and I feel great! I enjoy serving the city of Sidney and plan to continue. As a matter of fact, I just agreed to serve another three year term on the Personnel Board of Appeals,” Bemus shared with a smile. “I have a lot of experience and institutional knowledge to pass along to current board members.”

Bemus understands that volunteering is not for everyone. “Volunteering comes from within. This is a good community and there are a number of ways to make a positive impact. You can respect high family values, be a good neighbor or support worthy civic endeavors. There are so many more ways and opportunities to make Sidney its very best!”

Bemus shared that “life is a series of opportunities” and he has certainly pursued many varied opportunities in his lifetime. After graduating from Bowling Green State University, he married his wife Judy. They will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this year. Shortly after the wedding ceremony, he served not once, but twice in the military. With his military service complete, Bemus returned to Sidney (he’s a third-generation resident of the city) and retired in 1999 from Sidney Truck after 40 years of service. Bemus and his wife Judy have a son and daughter, six grandchildren and a number of great grandchildren.

Thank you Karl Bemus for all that you have done and continue to do for the city of Sidney!

The city has approximately 82 volunteers on some 20 different Boards and Commissions. The time and many contributions these citizens lend to our governing process have been greatly appreciated over the years. Persons interested in any of these positions should contact the city clerk’s office at 937-498-8148 or by email at kegbert@sidneyoh.com.

Second longest serving city volunteer

By Kari Egbert

For the Sidney Daily News