COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced the appointment of Sidney City Councilmember Mike Barhorst to the State Emergency Response Commission. His term will begin Jan. 14, 2022, and end Jan. 13, 2024.
Barhorst’s appointment was one of 21 year-end appointments announced by the governor’s office. Those appointments and reappointments filled open positions on various state-wide boards and commissions.
Long active in community affairs, Barhorst has served on Sidney’s City Council twice (1977-1989 and 2007 – present). He is one of eight individuals who have served as the mayor of Sidney twice.
Barhorst currently serves as chair of the Community Traffic Safety Network of Shelby County, a role he has played since 1990, chairs the Sidney, Ohio Civil War Living History Weekend Planning Committee, serves as vice-chair of the Shelby County Land Reutilization Corporation, and is a board member of the Johnston Farm Friends Council.
No stranger to service at the state level, Barhorst has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Municipal League since 2015, and served as board president in 2019. Barhorst has also served as a member of the executive committee of the Mayors Association of Ohio since 2007, and is currently serving as president of the Mayors Association.
In fact, Barhorst did not receive word of his appointment until he returned from visiting municipal officials in Batavia, the county seat of Clermont County. Batavia is one of Ohio’s county seats currently exploring adopting a charter.
In 2019, Barhorst served on the Supreme Court of Ohio Task Force to Examine Bail Reform, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Nominating Council, and was appointed to the Local Government Impacts of COVID-19 Strike Force. While it was not intended to be at the time, the strike force it thought to be the longest surviving strike force in Ohio history. Earlier this year, he was appointed to serve on the Joint Committee on Force Accounts by Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman..
“I’m honored to serve,” Barhorst stated. “I have already warned local officials who have expertise in emergency planning, including Jackson Center Village Administrator Bruce Metz and recently retired Shelby County EMA Executive Director Cheri Drinkwine, that I’ll be calling on them for their assistance.”
Ohio’s State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) is made up of nine state agencies: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency; Emergency Management Agency; Attorney General’s Office; Health; Transportation; Natural Resources; State Fire Marshal; State Highway Patrol; and Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Additionally, SERC has 10 voting members: two representing environmental advocacy; two representing industry trade association; three representing firefighting; and three representing local government/municipalities. Two members of the legislature serve as non-voting members.
SERC appoints members of the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) of each emergency planning district. In Ohio, each county has been designated as its own emergency planning district, with the exception of Montgomery and Greene counties, which combine their planning efforts. LEPC members include representatives from each of the following groups or organizations: elected state and local officials; law enforcement; emergency management; firefighting; first aid, hospitals and health; local environmental authorities; transportation; broadcast and/or print media; community groups; and owners and operators of subject facilities.