Whether they represent villages, townships, cities or the county, all elected officials in Delaware County represent their constituents to the best of their abilities, said Delaware mayor Gary Milner.

Whether they represent villages, townships, cities or the county, all elected officials in Delaware County represent their constituents to the best of their abilities, said Delaware mayor Gary Milner.

Those officials shouldn't operate in a vacuum, especially in a growing county, because the experiences of their peers might help them do their job better, he said.

For that reason, Milner and Liberty Township trustee Bob Mann invited their peers throughout the county to a meeting at the Liberty Township hall on Jan. 20 to discuss ways they could work together.

Representatives were there from 15 of the 27 areas with elected officials. Sunbury officials had a previously scheduled meeting and could not attend.

The meeting also was a way to "put faces to names," Mann said.

Both men credited Delaware city manager Tom Homan with the idea to bring the officials together. Homan credited Powell's city manager Steve Lutz and Liberty Township's administrator Dave Anderson.

The three men talk frequently, he said, about common issues and to bounce ideas off one another, Homan said.

The county's fire chiefs and police chiefs meet regularly, as do township officials. But there is no forum on a countywide basis.

"Delaware County is the 25th-fastest-growing county in the country, despite the economic slowdown," Homan said. "There are issues that affect us all. ... It puts us at a disadvantage when we are not able to tell the region what Delaware County thinks. ... It is better that we get together when we are not adversaries."

Anderson said he participated in similar meetings when he was Miami Township's administrator in Montgomery County.

"We would get together and have dinner in a non-threatening environment to discuss what was going on in our areas," he said.

"The most obvious thing is for us to get comfortable with each other," said Powell mayor Art Schultz. "If we have decent attendance, people would love to get in front of this group."

The meeting could be educational, Mann said. "We would all like to hear about things that worked well in other areas."

It also could be a venue to talk about joint projects, funding or grants, he said.

Participants gave their thoughts about speakers or issues they would like to see on future agendas.

They agreed to meet quarterly in different sections of the county, with a social hour and dinner, followed by a speaker(s). Costs would be paid by the participants.

Topics they will consider for future meetings include fiber optics, regional planning, transportation, infrastructure, parks, economic development and other business opportunities.

Berlin Township trustee Ron Bullard said each meeting "must have an objective" and they must be careful that the meetings don't turn into gripe sessions.

Charles Miley from Brown Township said they must also keep in mind the differences between sections of the county.

He also sees the benefit of the meetings.

"I would definitely like to see more cooperation," he said.

"As a newly elected official, meetings like this are valuable ... to get to know people ... get together and work together," said Paul Myers, who was elected in November to the Berkshire Township board of trustees.

When it comes to picking topics for future meetings, it's important to "make them interactive ... with a forum to discuss ideas, not just sitting here listening to a speaker or looking at PowerPoint slides," Schultz said.

Orange Township trustee Nelson Katz volunteered to host the next meeting on March 10 at a location to be identified.