Westerville News & Public Opinion

Jenkins: Challenge is planning for next 40 years

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Westerville City Councilman Larry Jenkins has served his community in a variety of ways since moving to Westerville in 1997.

He has volunteered with Leadership Westerville, served on the boards of the Westerville Symphony and Concord Counseling, and has long been active in Westerville Sunrise Rotary, helping to organize some of the group's major events, including the Chilly Open and Field of Heroes.

Before joining council in 2009, he spent five years on the Westerville Planning Commission, serving two years as chairman.

Now, Jenkins, 41, is asking residents to support him as he seeks a third term on City Council, something he said he also sees as community service.

"My evolution in Westerville has just always been based on service-leadership," Jenkins said. "I'm just one of those people who likes to be involved."

Jenkins will defend his seat Nov. 5, along with incumbents Kathy Cocuzzi, Jenifer French and Mike Heyeck. They are challenged by Doug Rankin.

Jenkins is a Gahanna native who left central Ohio to earn a degree in engineering at Purdue University.

Upon returning to the area, he and wife, Tiffany, spent a year in the Little Turtle community before relocating to Westerville. They now have two elementary-school-aged children.

Since 2000, Jenkins has run his own human-relations consulting firm, Human Resource Services, from Westerville.

Jenkins said he takes pride in Westerville and the services it offers residents, and he said he hopes to serve on council to continue to see Westerville maintain its history of excellence.

"You just have the things that people want. It's nice to be in the town," Jenkins said. "At the end of the day, most people just love being here."

If re-elected, Jenkins said he would like to see council continue to focus on planning for the future.

"If you're not planning for what's happening next ... if you get behind, it's not easy to get those things fixed," Jenkins said.

He said he particularly looks forward to working on a new comprehensive city plan.

"The challenge now is to define where we're going for the next 40 years," Jenkins said.

The city also faces the upcoming challenge of planning for retirements: Many longtime city employees and department heads will be ready to retire within the next few years, Jenkins said, and the city must create a succession plan that will keep city operations running smoothly while allowing for continued growth.

Jenkins said he's been fortunate to serve with a group of council members who evaluate city decisions and plan for the future with critical eyes.

"They're high-thinkers," Jenkins said of his colleagues. "It's nice to be surrounded by peers who challenge you to be at your best."

He said he's also been fortunate to serve in a city that has weathered the economic recession and continued to grow rather than cut, as many municipalities have had to.

"Instead of looking at cuts, we're looking at opportunities to get better," Jenkins said.

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