Saturday, September 23, 2017 Elyria 83°


Residents vote out incumbent Eaton Township trustees


EATON TWP. — Donna Hicks and Linda Morrison lost their positions as Eaton Township trustees Tuesday.

The women were not re-elected as voters favored candidates Jason Monschein, who received 752 votes or 30 percent of the votes, and Randy Houston, who received 630 votes or 25 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results. Hicks and Morrison received just 253 and 418 votes, respectively.

Hicks’ and Morrison’s time in office was surrounded by controversy.

They were criticized for hiring Fire Chief Jason Brooks, who later resigned amid allegations of sleeping on the job and lacking leadership.

Hicks and Morrison voted in favor of appointing Brooks to the job over 22-year veteran and acting Fire Chief Bob Resar in February 2011, against the recommendations of an interviewing panel and Trustee Delbert Roig.

Brooks was hired after the resignation of Fire Chief Phil Slack, who said his interaction with Hicks had deteriorated, and he thought the other two trustees likely would side with her in the future.

Brooks resigned a year later after 21 of 28 members of the Eaton Township Fire Department called for his removal, and Resar was appointed to the job.

Hicks again voted against the hiring.

Morrison and Hicks were involved in a number of legal battles during their time in office, and they were most outspoken against the Lorain County Rural Wastewater District’s plans to build sewer lines from Eaton and Carlisle townships to Avon Lake’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Hicks, a longtime LORCO opponent, earned a spot on the Board of Trustees by defeating pro-LORCO former trustee Doug Edwards. Hicks has sued LORCO in the past as a private citizen, but a 2010 lawsuit was filed on behalf of township residents.

The lawsuit argued that the project should be halted because pending legal issues, including a challenge filed by the city of Elyria with the Ohio Environmental Appeals Commission, hadn’t been resolved. Critics of LORCO’s sewer line argued that it was unnecessary and too expensive for residents.

The lawsuit was dropped in April 2010 with Eaton Township trustees assuming court costs and giving up the right to file another lawsuit. In exchange, LORCO and the city of Avon Lake would not seek to recover attorney’s fees from township officials.

Morrison also was involved in a dispute with Edwards, against whom she filed a civil stalking protection order in 2009. She sought the order after she alleged that Edwards screamed profanities at her during an executive session.

The request was dropped, but Morrison later filed an ethics complaint against Edwards for which he received a public reprimand from the Ohio Ethics Commission, which found he was in violation of Ohio ethics laws for participating in public contracts benefiting his employer.

Morrison declined to comment on the election when contacted Wednesday. Hicks did not return a call for comment.

Monschein, 31, is a full-time firefighter in Tiffin and a part-time volunteer firefighter and paramedic with Eaton and LaGrange townships.

Houston, 59, is retired after more than 30 years working for the township. He operates Houston and Sons Farms in Eaton Township.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

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