Saturday, April 03, 1999

Springboro mayor steps down


Wellbrock wants time with family

BY KEVIN ALDRIDGE
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGBORO — This city's top elected official is stepping down after five years at his post.

        Springboro Mayor Raymond Wellbrock announced his resignation at a council meeting Thursday — April Fool's Day. On a day where jokes and pranks were prevalent, some council members said they felt as though they were waiting for a punch line that never came.

        “I was very shocked and surprised by his announcement,” Councilwoman Marie Belpulsi said Friday. “When he asked to speak, I didn't expect him to say he was quitting.”

        “It's kind of an irony that the No. 1 town clown announced his retirement on April Fool's Day,” Mr. Wellbrock said Friday. “I don't know; maybe it was appropriate.”

        All kidding aside, the 39-year-old mayor said his decision to leave, effective April 11, was based solely on personal reasons.

        “I have a 15-year-old and a 14-year-old daughter that I love very much, and I wanted to spend more time with them,” he said. “Plus, I've got an exciting new job in Cincinnati that requires quite a bit of time and travel.”

        Nobody on council saw the resignation coming.

        “We were all stunned,” said Deputy Mayor John Agenbroad. “I mean, we knew he was very busy with his job and all, but not to the degree that he was going to resign.”

        With the departure, Mr. Agenbroad will assume the mayoral duties until the November general election. Council has 30 days to appoint a replacement to Mr. Agenbroad's vacant seat, according to Springboro's charter.

        If council fails to make an appointment by then, the mayor can appoint someone to the position. Because Mr. Agenbroad is an at-large councilman, any Springboro resident may petition for the seat.

        “I anticipate a smooth transition,” Mr. Agenbroad said. “We have a lot of good people in Springboro who will step up and fill the spot. Meanwhile, the rest of (council) will pick up the pieces and move on.”

        Mr. Wellbrock said at first he considered serving out his term and then not running for re-election in November. But after discussing it with his wife, Mr. Wellbrock said, he decided now was the time to leave.

        “I didn't want to be an absentee mayor,” he said. “I didn't want to be one of those public officials that goes to two meetings a month, carries a title and doesn't really serve the citizens.

        “I believe that if you're going to do something then you dive in and do it all the way. And if you can't do that, then it's time to give it up.”

        Mr. Wellbrock said he will miss working with his fellow council members, despite their occasional differences of opinion. He also didn't rule out a possible return to public office at some point.

        “I'm definitely going to stay very active politically,” he said. “I have plans to be very active in the Warren County Republican Party, and I may even be doing some work on the Republican presidential campaign.”

        Mr. Wellbrock was one of three new Springboro council members elected to office in 1994. Two years later, he won the mayor's job.

        When Mr. Wellbrock took office, Springboro was in fiscal turmoil, it had no city manager and was operating a golf course that it couldn't pay for. But the 14-year resident welcomed the challenges.

        “I never really saw the work I did here as stressful,” Mr. Wellbrock said. “I saw it as both a challenge and an opportunity. An opportunity to help people and work with them to resolve issues.”

        Mrs. Belpulsi added: “Ray always put 120 percent into his role as mayor. He approached everything with a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm. He will be greatly missed.”

       



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