Two Defiance city employees applauded for workplace accomplishments

By TODD HELBERG @cntoddhelberg Published:

Two city employees received recognition from Defiance City Council and the administration Tuesday night for workplace accomplishments.

Council also approved five legislative items during its regular meeting (see related story above) before meeting in executive session to discuss pending litigation.

City administrator Jeff Leonard informed council that water treatment plant superintendent Adam McDowell has obtained a class IV operator's license -- the highest category for water plant operators.

Leonard noted that McDowell is "very passionate" about his work and called him a "great asset to the city."

Council approved a motion congratulating McDowell in his accomplishment. But that wasn't the only motion of that nature council approved. Leonard also announced that city finance director John Lehner received a "Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting" from the Government Finance Officers Association for the third year.

Council subsequently approved a motion congratulating Lehner as well.

Leonard described the finance director as one of the best officials "I've worked with in my career."

Later, At-large Councilman Mike Ketcham and Council President Mike McCann also praised Lehner and his work.

"City finances are, and have been, in good hands," said McCann.

Earlier, the council president mentioned Monday evening's public forum "A Conversation with Defiance" at Defiance College's Schomburg Auditorium. Ten community leaders provided their perspectives on developments in their fields during the event, sponsored by Defiance 2100 and The Crescent-News.

"I thought it went very well," said McCann a panelist at the forum. "We had some frank conversations about some things."

The event will be available for viewing on DCTV channel 5's website on Friday. The address is

McCann, who responded to a public inquiry Monday about the city using grant money for projects, offered an amended answer Tuesday night.

He said he believes it is the city's "obligation to bring (grant) money back to the city. ... let's get more than our share."

Resident Ron Posey, 1917 Darbyshire Drive, responded that with grants comes more "expense and upkeep in the future." The comment referred to public projects funded with grant money.

A second "Conversation with Defiance" forum will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Schomburg Auditorium with a different group of community leaders on hand.

In other business:

• Ketcham reported on a finance committee meeting held Tuesday evening in which Lehner reviewed the fiscal process. Ketcham said that discussion will continue at another finance committee scheduled for April 8.

• McCann, passing on a citizen concern, told the administration he felt council should have been informed that a pickup truck was recently purchased to replace a 1998 vehicle damaged in an accident. Although council approved the pickup's purchase, it had not been informed about the accident. Leonard apologized and pledged to keep council informed about damaged vehicles in the future, noting that any city employee involved in a crash is subject to a disciplinary process.

• Ward III Councilman Jake Oberlin reported that council's Facebook page should be online by the end of the month.

• Leonard noted that the administration will make a recommendation concerning signage for the South Clinton Street railroad viaduct during the city traffic commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. April 1.

He also reported that a combined sewer overflow discharge occurred on Bassard Drive during the week of March 2.

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