COLUMBUS — Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst recently chaired his final meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Municipal League (OML). The meeting concluded a year that found him traveling across Ohio to meet with civic leaders, testifying before the General Assembly, serving on The Supreme Court of Ohio Task Force to Examine Bail Reform, attending the National League of Cities City Summit, serving on the Nominating Council of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, and a host of other duties.
“The year has passed quickly,” Barhorst said. “I have no idea how many miles I’ve logged on behalf of the OML, but I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with civic leaders across the state.
“There have been several memorable meetings,” Barhorst said. “Certainly among those were conversations with Bryan Mayor Carrie Schlade, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Ironton Mayor Katrina Keith, Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney, Lancaster Mayor Dave Scheffler, Cambridge Mayor Tom Orr and Delaware Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle, along with many others.
“There wasn’t a single month that there was not significant activity,” Barhorst said. “Through the first half of the year, I was in Columbus on average one day a week. Fortunately, the schedule moderated a bit the second half of the year.
“January began with meetings of the PUCO Nominating Council, repeated again in March following the resignation of Commission Chair Asim Haque. The Nominating Council’s responsibility is to nominate candidates for the Governor’s consideration, and we unanimously nominated Sam Randazzo, who was subsequently appointed by Governor DeWine.
“I had the opportunity to travel to the National League of Cities City Summit in Washington, DC, in March,” Barhorst said. “In addition to attending sessions on a variety of topics including affordable housing, we had individual meetings with members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation.
“It was my good fortune to be closed out of housing at the conference hotel. As it turned out, the hotel in which I had accommodations was next to the headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati, the nation’s oldest patriotic organization. Founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army, it was the American Legion for soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War,” Barhorst stated. “The day I left Washington, I was able to spend several hours in their library researching Colonel John Hardin and General Isaac Shelby, both of whom saw service in the Revolutionary War.
“I’ve lost track of the number of occasions that I’ve spent time with Governor Mike DeWine,” Barhorst said. “He stopped by the OML board meeting on Friday to talk about the opioid settlement and Strong Ohio, his plan to better protect Ohio citizens and law enforcement officers from those with a propensity toward violence and to provide help to individuals who are a danger to either themselves or others.
“Several weeks ago I attended a meeting at the Governor’s Residence with about a hundred elected and appointed officials from across the state to discuss the opioid settlement,” Barhorst said. “Some time before that, I attended a meeting when the Governor announced H2Ohio, his proposal to create a special fund that would be used to protect Ohio’s water quality.
“As immediate past president, I still have some things I want to accomplish,” Barhorst said, “but the pace will be a bit slower. I did promise incoming President Sharon Cassler that all vacant board positions would be filled. Hopefully I can complete that task before December 31!”
Barhorst plans to remain on the board of the OML. The Ohio Municipal League represents the interests of Ohio’s 933 municipalities before the General Assembly.
Barhorst is also a member of the executive committee of the Association of Ohio Mayors. He currently serves as secretary of that organization.