Licking County News

Etna Township

Trustees interview administrator candidates

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Etna Township trustees interviewed candidates for the township's open administrator job during an April 20 executive session, said John Carlisle, president of the board of trustees.

Carlisle declined to release the number or names of the candidates who were interviewed or comment further about the process of hiring a new administrator.

The trustees are seeking a township administrator with zoning experience to replace Chris Harkness, who resigned Feb. 20 to take a job with the county planning commission.

Harkness earned $51,000 annually.

In the interim, the township hired former trustee Gary Burkholder to work no more than 25 hours a week at $30 an hour.

Burkholder, an Etna resident who also serves as village administrator for Hartford, applied for the position, along with 23 other people.

ThisWeek filed a public-records request Thursday, April 11, to view the applications, which the township complied with in full Monday, April 15.

Carlisle objected to an April 14 ThisWeek story headlined, "Etna Township fails to comply with records request."

"We were in the process of doing what (ThisWeek) had requested," when the story came out, he said.

Carlisle said both he and the township's designated public records officer, Laura Brown, were not working April 12.

Carlisle also said on April 11 he requested a legal opinion from the Licking County Prosecutor's Office, on any personal information that might need to be redacted from the resumes before providing them in compliance with the public-records request.

He said the prosecuting attorney also was out of the office April 12, as well as April 15.

Seeking the prosecutor's advice before complying with the request was appropriate on the township's part, he said

"We've never hired someone, and done (something) of this magnitude," Carlisle said. "We need to make sure not only that the township is protected but also that the individuals are protected if there is something I was not aware of legally. Everyone needs to be treated fairly."

Township replies to public-records requests "cannot be sent out unless I review them first," Carlisle said. "That's to make sure we're protecting the township and that (the) request is being fulfilled in total.

Carlisle said on April 15, he again called the prosecutor's office and asked for another attorney. When he received answers to all of his questions, Carlisle said, he immediately released the information to ThisWeek.

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