Two longtime local officials have stepped away from their posts as the new year gets under way.

Grove City councilman Steve Bennett, who had served 14 non-consecutive years on council, was defeated in the November election.

South-Western City Schools board member Karen Dover decided not to run for re-election after serving two terms.

"It's been a great experience to serve on council," Bennett said. "I think I was able to help make some meaningful changes in the community. That's what makes it so satisfying -- helping to make your community a better place to live."

Bennett served from 1995 to 2001 and was elected again in 2009.

"I came from a business background, and I was never afraid to speak my mind," he said. "I always tried to use my common sense. If I saw something that seemed to make sense and I thought would benefit the community, I'd vote for it."

It was a pleasure "to be able to work with and serve with all the people involved in the city," Bennett said. "Even if we didn't always agree with each other, I think we always tried to be agreeable."

Dover said she decided to run for the school board in 2009 because of her concerns with the district cutting extracurricular activities after levy failures.

"There was a lot of upset about that in the district. It wasn't something I thought should be done," she said. "I ran supporting the levy that passed that year."

Serving on the board "has been a wonderful experience," Dover said.

"My background is in the financial area, and I think I was able to bring a different perspective to the board that's been helpful.

"I think it's good when you can have people with varied backgrounds serving on the board because we can all bring something different to the table," she said.

Helping to oversee the district's Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project, which built 13 new elementary schools and a new Franklin Heights High School in its first round and will address the district's middle school buildings in its next phase, has been one of the most rewarding parts of her service, Dover said.

"I've learned a lot about our schools and learned a lot from the administrators and leadership of our district," she said. "It's an experience I would recommend to anyone."

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