Klempa Sworn In As Commissioner

WHEELING – New Ohio County Commissioner Orphy Klempa said Thursday he is looking forward to working with his cohorts on various issues, including matters of technology.

One idea they are considering is the county having an official presence on the Internet. While there is a website dedicated to all things The Highlands, it is not owned or operated by the commission.

Klempa, who was sworn into office Thursday by his predecessor, Circuit Judge David Sims, said he would like the county to have its own website and possibly broadcast its monthly meetings over the Internet.

While serving as a state senator, Klempa said he felt more like an individual serving and representing his district. But as a commissioner, the decisions won’t be his alone, he said.

“I just found out today that it’s been 14 years since a new commissioner has been elected in Ohio County,” Klempa said, referring to Commissioner Randy Wharton, while speaking with media members.

“I have huge shoes to fill,” he added of Sims. “The reason it’s been 14 years without a new commissioner is because of the great job they have done, and I want to make sure that continues. I’m not going to do anything that will harm what David Sims has done.”

When Sims was appointed judge, the remaining commissioners, Wharton and Tim McCormick, decided to appoint a temporary replacement to serve out the remainder of his term. They wanted someone who had no interest in running for election to the seat during the November election. Wheeling resident John Clarke fit the bill and served as commissioner for six months.

Klempa has served on the Ohio County Development Authority – the commission’s development arm – for 11 years. His first county commission meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Jan. 2 in Room 215 of the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St.

“We are so proud of him,” said Klempa’s wife, Mary Jo, after the ceremony.

Klempa’s mother, Geneva, added, “We are very proud.”

Klempa, a Wheeling resident, works as the business manager for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters. Klempa served as a state delegate from 2006-08 and was elected to the state Senate in 2010, but resigned Dec. 10 to take his seat on the commisison.

The process to fill Klempa’s unexpired term in the Senate is under way.