Brian Reynolds
Brian Reynolds

LEIPSIC — With three council members absent, Leipsic Village Council’s first meeting of the year was, on the face of it, a non-starter. However, despite the lack of a quorum, those officials present were brought up to speed on a handful of issues, not the least of which was the announced resignation of Councilor Brian Reynolds.

Following a closed-door development meeting with Putnam County Community Improvement Corporation Director Amy Sealts, held just before council was scheduled to meet, village officials entered chambers en masse. After announcing, in the absence of a quorum, there would be no official meeting, Mayor Kevin Benton gave the first indication that something was amiss.

“Apparently, we’re losing a council member,” Benton said, referencing a letter of resignation submitted by Reynolds to the village on Monday.

In that letter to Benton and Council President Sue Schroeder, Reynolds stated, “Please accept this letter as my intention to resign my position as a member of Leipsic Village Council effective immediately. I do not arrive at this position easily. It has been my great privilege to serve our community for the last five years along side of you and my colleagues. I, however, can no longer devote myself in a level that I feel is acceptable to those who have elected me. It is my aim to respect those in our community and step aside to allow their voices to be fully represented.”

According to Benton, Reynolds provided no specifics as to why he chose to resign, but suggested work, family and general life obligations were at the root.

“He was thankful to the village for the time he’s had,” Benton said.

Benton then told those council members present they have 30 days to appoint a replacement. “After 30 days then it becomes my responsibilty,” Benton added, “I’d prefer you see to it.”

Officials at the meeting were also addressed by an irate area farmer. Tony Crawfis, who leased roughly two acres of farmland to a contractor working on Leipsic’s new waterline, expressed concern and outrage at actions taken by Kirk Brothers, the contractor in question.

“They’ve violated this lease big time,” Crawfis said, citing specific instances where the contractor had excavated swathes of topsoil, built a ramp, and laid an access point of railroad ties that damaged a field tile, all of which was done without his permission.

Crawfis said communication is at a stand-still, this despite having engaged Columbus Grove-based attorney Lee Schroeder to help facilitate a conversation.

“What do you need from council, or are you just making us aware of it?” Benton asked.

Crawfis said his presentation was purely informational, adding he intended to discuss further legal action — specifically, an effort to stop any further progress in the project until reparations are made — with attorneys he had yet to employ.

“Well if you’re threatening litigation, which it sounds like you are, I’m afraid we can’t really discuss too much with you,” Benton responded. “Because all we were going to do is instruct our administrator and make sure you’re whole and get everything taken care of. Up to this point, everyone who has come to council has been made whole. What we mean by that is we’ll take care of any reasonable problems that have arisen. If there is problems like you say there is, we’ll take care of them.”

The two men bandied back and forth, with Crawfis wanting to know what the village would do, and Benton asserting, without a specific claim, no specific account of reparations could be made.

Ultimately, Crawfis agreed to discuss his concerns with Barry Schroeder, the village’s solicitor, in an effort to resolve the ongoing issues.

The next regular meeting of the Leipsic Village Council is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the village offices.