Departing county leaders leave impressive legacies
All told, they have served Summit County for more than 40 years. They guided the community through both lean and prosperous times. And as they step down from their posts each will be leaving a legacy of admirable public service and professionalism.
Summit County Auditor Blake Frazier guided the county through a period of unprecedented growth and helped the county weather several ups and downs in the economy.
Under the previous council/manager form of government Frazier took on many of the duties that are now assigned to the manager. He patiently helped the county’s three part-time commissioners understand the complexities of government finance and ensured all the departments were talking to each other. In many ways he was the glue that held the courthouse together and was so well regarded that he rarely faced an opponent at election time.
Frazier decided not to seek another term of office and after many years of public service at both the county level and in his hometown of Oakley, where he previously held the mayor’s post, he will take some well deserved time with family and friends.
Sheriff David Edmunds, on the other hand, faced two rough re-election campaigns, ultimately winning both. He took on the task of reinventing a department that had not seen much change over the years and, while there was some resistance, in the end he earned both the staff and the community’s respect for his unwavering commitment. Law enforcement is a particularly challenging field, requiring both discipline and compassion. Edmunds strived to ensure his deputies practiced both and as a result Summit County citizens felt safer and more secure.
He too made the choice not to seek re-election but has taken great pains to make sure his successor will enjoy a smooth transition. As part of the territory, Edmunds faced some criticism during his tenure, but even his critics would say they admired his passion for the job.
During election season, Summit County Attorney David Brickey told voters he wasn’t ready to leave and fought a hard campaign to retain his position. However, in a race that may have turned more on style than substance, he was defeated. Nevertheless, his energy in the courtroom and dedication to a number of local nonprofit organizations, including Peace House and the Children’s Justice Center, will be greatly missed.
His successor will likely find that he has bigger shoes to fill than he anticipated. Brickey ran a very busy ship overseeing both the civil and criminal sides of the county’s legal responsibilities. Hopefully, Brickey will continue to offer his expansive expertise with the courthouse and will maintain his deep involvement in the community.
Lastly, but in no way the least, Bob Jasper, Summit County’s first manager, announced his retirement this summer. At this moment, he is probably sipping wine in Paris but residents can rest assured that, thanks to his efforts to establish more accountability, the county will continue to function more professionally and efficiently. Through hard work and genial patience Jasper nudged the county toward a brighter and more unified future.
There is still a lot of work to be done as the county looks to a future filled with new challenges, but as these fine public servants end their terms we can all take a moment to admire our progress and thank those who made it possible.
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