LEIPSIC — Officials with the Village of Leipsic announced a change in two key positions last week. Following their meeting on Monday, council appointed a new Chief of Police, as well as a new Village Administrator.

Selecting from a field of five applicants — three of whom served with the Leipsic Police Department — council in a 4-2 vote appointed John Rodriguez to assume the position of retiring Police Chief Dennis Cupp effective Monday, July 6.

The decision raised more than a few eyebrows in the community. Though an experienced law officer, Rodriguez has never served full-time. He served part-time as a deputy with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, then, after abruptly resigning that position, Cupp recruited Rodriguez for a part-time slot with the Leipsic PD. A second candidate, Kyle Stechschulte, held full-time positions as both an officer with the Leipsic PD and as a juvenile probation officer with the county before moving into the private sector roughly two years ago. Stechschulte also serves as a volunteer firefighter with the village, and as president of the Putnam County Board of Health.

The disparity in experience caused some to take to social media.

“I am so disappointed right now,” one village resident wrote on Facebook.

”Kyle I still can not believe that you were not selected for police chief…..As I said before you have done so much for this town of Leipsic and the people in this community!” a second commented.

While acknowledging the controversial nature of the decision, Mayor Tony Wobler asserted council chose the right man for the job.

“John has been in law enforcement for 18 years,” Wobler said. “He’s a very intelligent person, and an excellent, excellent communicator. My main goal was to have communication between not only the chief, myself, and the council, but also with the sheriff’s department in Putnam County. That was one of the things that was very important to me; to have a police chief that would involve outside law enforcement agencies in investigations.”

With racial injustice at the forefront nationally, Wobler remarked diversity, though not the deciding factor, likely played a role in the decision making process.

“In the Village of Leipsic we have approximately a 23% Hispanic population,” Wobler said. “John speaks both languages. I guess, from my perspective, I think it’s always important to have diversity in management positions. That would have played a very small role, but it would have been one of the factors. I definitely think John will be a good communicator, and I think he will be good for the Village of Leipsic.”

Significantly less contentious was council’s appointment of Marvin Maag as the village’s new administrator, also effective Monday, July 6. Maag will replace interim administrator Jim Russell, who assumed the role following the summary dismissal of Justin Barnhart from the position in March of this year.