NEW BREMEN — After 16 years as New Bremen mayor, the previous eight years as a councilman, and a village firefighter for 15 years, Jeff Pape has lived by his belief “that if you want to do something for the village, you have to be part of the village.”
Pape has decided to not run for mayor again in November. He said he is most proud of accomplishments such as the recent development of both the installation of the 1 mile long tow path walk as well as the development of Komminsk Park. He said he gets great satisfaction in the growth at the 75 acre Bunker Hill Industrial Park.
“It is really rewarding to see how it’s grown and how many companies have moved in in the last 24 years,” he said.
But he also said the village also needs to keep thinking about the future, “because we can’t stop growing.”
The mayor said he had three pieces of advice for the two men running for the office, Robert Parker and Craig Huffman.
“First of all,” he said, “let the councilors do their job.” He also “suggested strongly” to stay in the background and stay out of their way. Pape said the current council is composed of members who all are working for the public good, which is a change from a sometime adversarial atmosphere years ago.
The mayor’s second piece of advice is to find avenues to talk to people. “Maybe they can set up some kind of regular ‘coffee with the mayor’ event so people can sit and ask questions.”
His third piece of advice he offered with a smile. “Be more organized than I am,” he said. Pape allowed that paperwork has often been a problem for him, but he is a very busy man.
Not only has he served the village for years but has worked full time at Crown Equipment his entire career. He currently is a senior manufacturing engineer but said he started his career at Crown operating a saw on the factory floor. He received an associates degree in business administration from Wright State University.
He said Crown has always supported his government service.
“I went into personnel about this and they absolutely have always given me the ability to do both,” he added.
Pape said his other support system is his wife, Kathy. “She is always there to serve as a sounding board and to give me an honest opinion,” he said.
Once the new mayor takes over the office, Pape said, he and Kathy will have more time to pursue their hobby of buying and selling vintage lights from the ’50s and ’60s, as well as watch grandkids during their sports activities. He anticipates that he will retire from Crown in three years.
He also said he suspects he will be pulled back into public service again in the future. “But,” he said, “it’s really going to have to be a good project, and I won’t have to be chair!”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.