Violet Township trustees chairman Darrin Monhollen said township staff members still are adjusting to the death of former operations director John Eisel, and officials haven't set a clear strategy for finding his successor.

Following the unexpected death of John Eisel, 55, on July 5, the trustees appointed township Engineer Greg Butcher to serve as the interim director of operations.

But Monhollen said he expects he and fellow trustees Terry Dunlap and Melissa Wilde soon will discuss how to fill the administrative position on a full-time basis.

"We will be meeting to develop a plan for best practices," Monhollen said. "We have full confidence moving forward with Greg Butcher. He's filled that role before for months at a time.

"It's wonderful Greg Butcher was willing to step forward, but it just would be unfair to ask him to do that for a real lengthy period of time because he's got another full-time job as engineer."

Citing Ohio "sunshine laws" regarding open meetings, the trustees said they can't discuss among themselves filling the position unless they do so in a public meeting or if they go behind closed doors into an "executive session" during a public meeting.

The trustees aren't scheduled to meet again until Aug. 7, but Monhollen said it's possible a special meeting would be called. He said the trustees could call for an executive session and discuss the personnel matter privately, behind closed doors. That decision, however, hadn't been made as of July 23.

"We will develop a plan in the near future as to what we'll do for the leadership of the township on an operations basis," Monhollen said. "I would expect that will happen within the next few weeks.

"Those are big shoes to fill with John Eisel no longer being there. We will carefully move forward as to how we will seek new leadership."

Eisel died while with his family at their vacation home in Lake Cumberland, Kentucky.

He was a former Violet Township firefighter and chief and served as director of operations for the township since July 2014.

Butcher has worked for the township for more than 18 years. He has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Ohio State University and a master's degree in public administration from Ohio University.

"While I am humbled to be recognized by the board of trustees as acting director of operations, it's way too soon to predict how that will translate to the filling of the permanent position," Butcher said. "Right now, elected leadership and township staff are focused on our day-to-day responsibilities with a heavy heart but know we also need to move forward."

As of July 18, Monhollen said, the township hadn't solicited anyone to fill the position on a full-time basis.

He said, however, that he expected the township to be able to draw interest from high-quality candidates because of its standing in operations and prospective economic development.

"We will enter into very serious discussions of that within the next couple weeks," Monhollen said.

"Now that we've dealt with other important details from a business and personal standpoint, I wouldn't rule out a special meeting prior to our next scheduled meeting."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate