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Mayor blamed for supervisor, 5 volunteer park board member resignations

By ZOE GRESZLER and ELLEN SIMMONS • Jun 27, 2019 at 10:00 PM

NEW LONDON — Things became a little tense Monday as fingers were pointed and authorities were blamed for a New London leader’s resignation.

Park supervisor Joe Thomas announced he will resign effective July 12 in a letter to the village, which was read during Monday’s council meeting. Then five park board members followed suit on hearing of his departure.

In his letter, Thomas, who wasn’t at the meeting, said he considered it “an honor” to work with the village and its residents for the past eight years. He thanked council, the village employees, office staff and park board members, as well as family members, for all their help. Thomas worked as the supervisor for eight years.

Several members of the 35 people in the audience had comments about the resignation, with the discussion becoming heated at some points. There were several opinions and thoughts on the reasoning behind Thomas quitting.

One resident said the problems stem from an attitude problem among many in the village. The person said people should stop “bashing” each other and the village on Facebook.

Some blamed New London Mayor John Martin for a feud between him and Thomas. One person asked council why none of the them asked Thomas to stay.

The mayor declined to discuss the disagreement.

“I don’t wish to comment on the matter,” Martin said. “To be honest, this should have all been handled in house rather than in (a) discussion in my open council session.”

Councilwoman Jennifer Ball said she wasn’t sure what the apparent disagreement was about.

“I now there’s been some tense things. I don’t know exactly what it all entails. I think I speak for all of us though in saying that we appreciate all (Thomas has) done,” she said. “I know most of (the village residents) are really sad to see Joe Thomas leave his position.”

When asked if the village knew the reasons behind the’ resignation, Ball said the letter didn’t explain. 

“I think he is just doing what he feels is best for him and his family,” she said. “If he’s doing what’s best then that’s great and we wish him luck.”

“To be honest, it’s probably that he’s wanting to better his position,” Martin added. “He’s resigning and he’s going to go to Northern Ohio Rural Water.” 

The mayor wasn’t sure what Thomas’ position would be there. 

Ball said while she “wouldn’t quite say it’s a surprise” that Thomas resigned, but added in a way “it kind of was.”

“He does a nice job with all the parks in town,” she said. “He’s put in lots of time and work into the village. We’re very appreciative.”

New London is accepting applications to fill the park supervisor position. Until a “suitable” replacement is found, Martin said the village administrator will take over the responsibilities. 

“We want to make sure we find the right person for the job,” he said, adding that the process for listing and interviewing for the position takes some time. “But we do want to have someone in place as soon as we can.”

Applications can be found on the New London village website. 

“It never should have gotten this far,” one resident said regarding the six resignations.