Acting mayor enjoys role

Schlicher approaches job as a learning experience

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Acting Mayor Josh Schlicher helps business continue as usual with Mayor's Secretary Cheyenne Oaks Wednesday.

Since March 13, President of Marietta City Council Josh Schlicher, 40, has stood in as acting mayor of the city.

“There’s no manual for being temporary,” said Schlicher. “This is a great learning experience. This is a longer stretch and gives me a daily, weekly and even a monthly perspective of the office.”

Mayor Joe Matthews has been out healing from a surgery, though has still made appearances in the office and at some events in recent weeks.

“He told me his doctor expected at least six weeks of recovery,” said Schlicher. “And though Joe wanted to come back in three, he needs to take the time to recover.”

Schlicher has stepped into the role as acting mayor before for a week or a couple of days, while juggling contracting work and property management full-time and juggling twin 2-year-old girls with his wife, but not for this length of time.

“This is an interesting position to be in because I have to step out of my role as president of council and into this temporary role but still knowing that the mayor will return,” said Schlicher. “Much of our council legislation doesn’t take effect without a mayoral approval so I’ve had that role to fill to implement council’s actions… But I enjoy working with residents and addressing their issues and concerns in both capacities, I just have a little more direct power to move work along right now.”

He said the opportunity has also allowed him to see the opposite side of the legislative and executive branches of local government and how business flows through the mayor’s office and safety-service director to the various city departments.

“At the end of this year I’ll have been on council for five years,” he explained. “Now I’ve learned more seeing the executive side. But it’s helped that I get along with everyone and I believe in giving the same respect to everyone.”

According to the Ohio Revised Code, when a mayor steps out of his or her role for illness or some other reason temporarily, there is not a time limit for when he or she must return.

“The reason of the law was to allow for the president of council to step in and serve,” explained Paul Bertram, city law director. “And the mayor could not be removed from office by anything other than resignation, death or a recall vote by the public who elected him.”

In response to questions of his ability to serve by others in city government Matthews had previously told The Marietta Times that while he was facing some health issues, he had no intention of leaving his post.

“There was a rumor going around town that I was resigning from office due to my health, but that’s far from the truth,” the 78-year-old mayor said. “I am facing some health problems. I think everyone knows I have cancer, but I’ve had it before and beat it.”

Schlicher said though Matthews has been officially out of the office, the two have kept in constant contact about the goings-on of the city.

“He’s kept me up to date with what was on his calendar and we talk a couple times a week,” said Schlicher.

At a glance

¯ President of Marietta City Council Josh Schlicher, 40, has stood in as acting mayor of the city since March 13.

¯ As acting mayor, Schlicher acts as the head of the executive branch of the city’s government.

¯ Schlicher is on his fifth year of service in city government.

Source: Times research.