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Commission approves two appointments

Two appointments to the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority board were approved at Thursday’s meeting of the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

Bret Allphin, of Sixmo Inc., and Eric Reed, of the Ohio Department of Transportation, were added as new Port Authority board members.

In the request to be added to the agenda, it was noted these new members are filling vacant positions and would not replace any current board members.

Commissioner Jamie Booth expressed his initial concern about Allphin joining the board, as Allphin is also running for Marietta City Council.

“So I see a potential conflict between government and private business. The port authority is private business that looks for economic development,” said Booth. “My opinion is that we table this.”

He said they should consult with the prosecutor’s office to make sure there was no conflict of interest.

“It’s a fine line and we don’t want to cross that,” he explained.

Commission President Kevin Ritter said he’s worked for years with Allphin when he worked for the Buckeye Hills Regional Council.

“I think he’d be a great addition to the port authority board,” said Ritter. “Let me ask you, Jesse, if we were to table this … for a week, does that put the board in any kind of bad position?”

Jesse Roush, executive director for SEOPA, said the issue was debated very heavily before it was brought before the board. He and Allphin had discussed it at length.

“He’s aware that he might be in a position where he would need to resign from the board,” he stated, noting if Allphin isn’t elected to the council, “it’s a non-starter to begin with.”

“If it comes down to it after the general election, and that has to occur then that has to occur,” exclaimed Commissioner Charlie Schilling. “But that gives us time or the port authority time to research that to make sure if that’s what needs to be done, then that’s what needs to be done.”

After the discussion, it was a unanimous decision to approve the motion.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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