Residents Seek Answers on Resignation

Belmont County commissioners answered several questions concerning transparency during their Wednesday meeting.

Guests inquired about the reasons behind the sudden resignation of the proposed incoming Division of Job and Family Services Director John Rowan just two days after he was named to the position. Visitor Clarence Briggs asked if any issues at the department motivated Rowan’s decision.

“We were extremely shocked and surprised at the events that took place on Friday morning,” said Commissioner Ginny Favede, adding they were unaware of any motivation beyond Rowan’s stated reason that he was best suited to his current position at the Oakview Juvenile Residential Center.

Commissioner Matt Coffland added residents are free to approach Rowan and ask him about his decision. Meanwhile, interviews will continue for the DJFS and senior services directorships.

In other matters, county Emergency Management Director David Ivan noted the state has mandated each county create a Dangerous Wild Animal Emergency Response Team, a decision motivated by a 2011 incident in Zanesville, where a man released dozens of exotic animals, including bears, lions and tigers, from their cages on his farm before committing suicide.

The committee will include a wide range of personnel including law enforcement, emergency responders and animal experts. They hope to have a plan in place by next year. Ivan noted there are two dangerous animals known to be kept within the county.