After three decades as a public employee, West Carrollton Police Chief Rick Barnhart has decided to run for city council.
It will be Barnhart’s first run for office and he will join other newcomers and veteran politicians seeking seats for city councils, school boards and township boards of trustees.
Already last week, the Montgomery County Board of Elections reported 11 pages of people interested in running for office in the fall.
The elections board will meet again on July 16, to update the list of certified candidates, that was approved on June 18. Candidates have until Aug. 7 to return petitions bearing signatures which, if approved by the board, put their names on fall ballots.
After almost 32 years as a local police officer in West Carrollton — the last 13 as chief — Barnhart said the time is right to run for a council seat.
“It’s probably a good time for me to get on and keep helping the city,” he said.
Barnhart said he plans to retire on Oct. 18, in anticipation of the Nov. 5 election.
As of the June 18 meeting, seven candidates in local races had filed petitions to be on the ballot, including Tom Wolf, a school board member in West Carrollton; Brent Beverly, a candidate for school board in Valley View; two council members seeking re-election, Anne Hilton in Oakwood and Bob Apgar in Brookville; and Joy Weaver, Terry Smith and Gary Roberts, incumbents on the Montgomery County Educational Services Center board.
Some petitioners fail to get on the ballot for lack of certified signatures.
To avoid this fate, Barnhart said he plans to go door-to-door to collect several times the required number of signatures on his nominating petitions.
He plans to run on Nov. 5, regardless of who else is in the race for four council seats.
In West Carrollton, Barnhart and Patrick Merris, who ran two years ago, have pulled petitions to run for four council seats. On May 23, three of the council members holding those seats, Harold Robinson, James Folker and James Bowers also pulled their petitions.
Barnhart said he would offer West Carrollton voters a unique option.
“I’ve got a different outlook on things from working within the system,” he said, adding he had experience handling citizen complaints like those made to council members.
While welcoming the new perspective, Robinson predicted Barnhart would be be surprised by the cost in terms of time and commitment associated with a council seat, which pays $3,000 a year in West Carrollton, Robinson said.
“I think anybody who’s never done it before would be somewhat surprised,” said Robinson, seeking his third council term after four terms on the local school board. “He has a better feel for it than 99 percent of the people.”