MOUNT VERNON — At-large Councilman Chris Menapace officially informed city officials and other city council members via email that he will resign his council seat effective Oct. 1. He is relocating to Coshocton County to be closer to family.
Menapace told council members of his impending resignation at the Sept. 23 council meeting. His term expires Dec. 31.
Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville, chairman of the Knox County Republican Party, said the Republican Central Committee will meet on or after Oct. 6 to name a replacement to complete Menapace's term. By law the committee cannot meet until five days after the resignation becomes effective.
“Two people have expressed interest,” said McConville. “We will hear presentations from the candidates and ask questions.
“People need to understand that this is just for the remaining [unexpired] term, which is just a couple of months,” he added.
Menapace said that on behalf of the residents who voted for him, he feels bad that he is leaving before the end of his term.
“I thank them, and I apologize that I can't finish out my term, but life happens,” he said. “This community has treated my family and myself with open arms. It's bittersweet to leave, but family comes first.
“My wife and I are excited to get back to where we grew up,” he added.
Reflecting on his tenure as a city councilman, Menapace said he learned that there's a difference between being a legislator and an administrator.
“There was a learning curve,” he said. “It was frustrating at times, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time on council.”
Regarding the creation of a stormwater utility, on which he has worked all year, Menapace said that it could still be a reality in 2019.
“I think I have laid out a timeline. I think I have laid out a process. If council picks it up and runs with it, I think they can get it done by the end of the year. But they have a lot of work to do,” he said.
Part of that work includes determining what infrastructure belongs to the city and what belongs to private entities.
“It's foolish to create a utility that taxpayers will pay for and the city will maintain if we don't know that,” he said. “The city needs to take a good hard look at all of these subdivisions.
“The legislation needs to continue with the timeline, but at the same time, council needs to demand the city finds out who owns what.”
After moving to Coshocton County, Menapace will continue to commute to his job as assistant fire chief for the Whitehall Fire Department.