Defiance County Board of Commissioners
The Board of County Commissioners is the policy making and legislative body of this County. It is the County government's taxing, budgeting, appropriating and purchasing authority and holds title to County property. The Board is also responsible for hearing and ruling on annexations, approving drainage improvements through the petition ditch process, and making improvements and providing for solid waste disposal.
With the exception of Summit and Cuyahoga Counties, all Ohio counties have three county commissioners: two are elected at the time of the presidential election and one is elected at the time of the gubernatorial election. The county commissioner elected at the gubernatorial election takes office on January 1, and the two elected at the presidential election take office on January 2 and 3. Candidates for these two commissioner positions must file for either the January 2 or 3 position.
Individual Commissioners have no power to act independently. The Board of County Commissioners act as a single body. All formal and official actions must have a majority or unanimous vote before they are passed.
The Board of Commissioners has direct oversight of several departments including:
- Building and Grounds/Facilities – Maintenance
- Courthouse Annex
- Commissioner’s Annex
- Defiance County East
- Evergreen Lane Office Complex
- Key Bank
- Sheriff / 911
- Sarah's House
- EMA Building
- Senior Centers in both Hicksville and Defiance
- Child Support Enforcement Agency
- Dog Warden
- Environmental and Administrative Services
- Family & Children First/Help Me Grow
- Job & Family Services
- Public Safety Services
- Records Center
- Senior Services
- Wastewater Operations
The organizational meeting of the Board of County Commissioners (ORC 305.05) occurs on the second Monday of January each year, when they must organize, elect a president and appoint a clerk. The Commissioners must hold at least 50 regular meetings per year (ORC 305.06) and as many special meetings as necessary to conduct their business. The salaries of Commissioners are established by state law, based on population.
Otto L. Nicely was elected a Commissioner on Nov. 21, 1995. He has been an active participant in several boards and committees including: CCAO Board of Trustees, NACo Agricultural and Rural Affairs Steering Committees, CCNO Executive Committee and is currently Chairman of the Four-County Solid Waste District Board and CCAO Board of Trustees.
Prior to becoming a County Commissioner, Mr. Nicely served in the United States Army, was a Noble Township Trustee for fourteen years and worked as the Defiance County Highway Superintendent. He has served as a volunteer at the Noble Township Fire Department for over 32 years.
Commissioner Nicely and his wife, Donna, reside in Noble Township and are active members of St. John Lutheran Church. They have two daughters who remain in the area.
Thomas L. Kime was elected Commissioner on January 2, 2001. Prior to becoming Commissioner, he was in private business in Defiance and served on the Brunersburg Water and Sewer District for five years, and as its president the last 1 1/2 years of his term. Mr. Kime graduated from Tinora High School and after almost three years in the Army attended Bowling Green State University graduating with a Degree in Business Administration. Commissioner Kime and his wife, Pam, reside on a farm in Tiffin Township. They have two children, Aaron and Kathryn.
James E. Harris, Jr. was elected Commissioner January 1, 2007.
A graduate of Tinora High School, Jim has taken management courses at Northwest State Community College and numerous business management classes through the State of Ohio. Memberships include Township Trustee Association, Farm Bureau, Pheasants Forever, North American Hunting Club and Tinora Athletic Boosters. Jim completed three terms as a Noble Township Trustee, worked for the Defiance County Engineer's Office as superintendent of the Highway Department, and retired in 2004 as the Administrator of the Defiance County Soil and Water Conservation District, where he was awarded Administrator Employee of the year in 1995.
A lifelong resident of Defiance, Jim and his wife, Cathy (Sines), have two children, Michael and Lindsay (David) Stehulak -- and granddaughter Ella. Jim has enjoyed working for the public most of his adult life, serving the citizens of Defiance County for more than 36 years, and is looking forward to the continuing commitment as Defiance County Commissioner.
Laura L. Howell
The Operations Manager/Administrator’s primary objective, under the general direction of the Board of County Commissioners, is to oversee the general operations of Defiance County to include implementing the policies of the Board of County Commissioners. Authority includes organizing and directing overall activities of departments under the jurisdiction of the Board of Commissioners, establishing and monitoring policies, practices and programs in the areas of employee relations, compensation, benefits, recruiting and training, and serving as an official County representative to answer questions, provide information and serve as a liaison between the Board of Commissioners, elected officials, department heads, employees and the public.
Laura, a Defiance native, is a graduate of The Defiance College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resource Management. She is also a graduate of Northwest State Community College and Ohio Municipal League Leadership Training. She has over twenty-four years of public service, both with Defiance County and the City of Defiance in various capacities.
Laura and her husband Bill live in the City of Defiance. They have two sons, Christopher and Ethan.
§ 305.05 Organization; election of president.
Text of Statute
The board of county commissioners shall organize on the second Monday of January of each year, by the election of one of its members as president for a term of one year. The member so elected shall preside at all regular and special sessions of the board. If the position of president becomes vacant during the year, the board shall select on of its members to preside.
HISTORY: RS § 848; 70 v 35; 89 v 220; 92 v 10; GC § 2400; 111 v 18; Bureau of Code Revision, 10-1-53; 134 v S 322, Eff 2-25-72. § 305.06
Text of Statute
(A) The board of county commissioners shall conduct at least fifty regular sessions each year, at an office provided for the board in the county seat or at another location as provided in division (B) of this section. Each of these sessions shall be conducted at a specific time fixed in advance. At each meeting the board shall transact such business as it considers necessary or as required by law.
(B) The board of county commissioners may provide by resolution for the holding of any or all regular sessions of the boards at a location in the county other than the office provided for the board in the county seat. The adoption of the resolution and the location where the session or sessions will be held shall be entered on the journal of the board. The board shall give reasonable public notice of its action taken pursuant to this division, in accordance with division (F) of section 121.22 of the Revised Code.
HISTORY: RS § 846; S&C 245; 51 v 422, § 8; GC § 2401; Bureau of Code Revision, 10-1-53; 131 v 190 (Eff 9-1-65); 138 v H 146 (Eff 6-20-80);