Defiance City Council gave its consent to the reappointment of two members of Mayor Mike McCann’s administration during its meeting Tuesday night.

City Administrator Jeff Leonard will start his 18th year in January, but plans to retire in June (see related story above), so his contract will be shorter while McCann also extended a new one-year deal to Sean O’Donnell, the city’s law director since January 2018.

Additionally, council approved its only two legislative items, including one which will allow for a flood mitigation program to continue on Riverside Avenue (see below).

Council President Dave McMaster read a letter on McCann’s behalf Tuesday evening, informing council members of plans to extend the above contracts to Leonard and O’Donnell. McCann was not in attendance Tuesday.

Unless council passes a motion reversing mayoral appointments to these positions, they are affirmed. No such motions were made Tuesday.

“Sean has proven himself as our law director and does an excellent job leading the law department,” McCann wrote in noting O’Donnell’s reappointment.

About Leonard, McCann stated, “I personally thank Jeff for his years of service. I have learned much from Jeff and continue to learn more each day. He will be missed at City Hall.”

McCann noted that Leonard can retire “around June 30.”

“We have already started the process of searching for a new administrator and hope to have someone in place before Jeff’s retirement,” the mayor wrote.

Several council members supported the mayor’s appointments and thanked Leonard.

“Both of the appointments are very valued employees to our administration, and I’m glad we gave them contracts,” said At-large Councilman Joe Eureste.

“I would just like also to thank Jeff for his years of service,” added At-large Councilman Steve Waxler. “I hate to see you go, but I know life changes.

Ward 1 Councilman Steve Corbitt and Ward 2 Councilman John Hancock both thanked Leonard while At-large Councilman Jill Krutsch wished him lucked and encouraged him to enjoy his retirement. She also welcomed back O’Donnell.

Defiance city officials will add a couple more homes on Riverside Avenue to the list of properties in river flood plain that have been cleared of buildings.

A related ordinance was one of two legislative items handled by city council Tuesday.

One ordinance authorizes a contract with Rensi Dirt Works and Hauling, Columbus, for the demolition of homes at 631 Riverside Ave. and at 731 Riverside Ave., both in the Auglaize River flood plain. The cost is $31,138.66.

Funds from the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) and Ohio Emergency Management Agency (OEMA) will cover 87 1/2% of the expenses with the city covering the balance. The contract is part of an ongoing effort by the city to purchase homes and buildings in flood plain areas — mostly with FEMA and OEMA funds — and remove them.

The removal of buildings in the flood plain “relieves pressure off the national flood insurance program, so that’s why they’re (FEMA) so generous with these grants,” said O’Donnell. “And it keeps that program from paying some of their claims.”

The city has purchased a number of properties in recent years near Kingsbury Park, on Auglaize Street and in the 100 block of Clinton Street for this purpose.

The only other legislative item approved Tuesday was an ordinance allowing for transfers totaling $628,245 among various city funds for the remainder of 2021. Such legislation is approved by council at regular intervals.

In other business Tuesday:

• council approved the reappointment of Steve Hoffman to the city’s planning commission and zoning board.

• McMaster noted that council will receive a presentation from the Montrose Group on the downtown redevelopment district during council’s Dec. 7 meeting.

• Leonard informed council that the city spent $20,000 with DMD Environmental, Inc., Toledo, for asbestos inspections associated with FEMA projects.

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