BATH TOWNSHIP — Longtime Bath Township Trustee John Martin has officially announced that he will be retiring Oct. 31, two years short of the end of his current four-year term.
Martin, who has been a mainstay in the township for more than two decades, submitted his letter of resignation to the board of trustees during the Oct. 16 township meeting.
“After almost 22 years as a trustee, it is time for me to move on,” Martin stated. “I will be available as a historian since I have already been connected to township activities since the late 1960s. I thank the Bath Township residents for their confidence, and I look forward to continued good local government.”
Voters first elected Martin to the Bath Township Board of Trustees in November 1997, and he officially took office on Jan. 1, 1998. As an attorney who practiced law for nearly 36 years in the Fairborn community, Martin brought legal knowledge to the job.
Township Trustee Steve Ross, who has served with Martin on the board of trustees for almost 16 years, said he first worked with Martin in 1985.
“John was our business attorney at Midwest Optical in Fairborn for quite a few years. He also became the township’s attorney in 1966,” said Ross.
Ross noted that when he was first elected to the board of trustees, Martin was an experienced advisor who introduced him to available grant funding through the Ohio Public Works Commission. According to Ross, the first major project Martin and he worked on together as trustees was the Old Yellow Springs Road improvement project. Since then, the trustees have worked side by side on several levies proposals, a number of negotiations and other significant township projects throughout the years.
“John has been a mentor. His legal mind and recall of history has been a great asset to Bath Township for many, many years,” Ross said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve alongside John Martin.”
Township Trustee Tom Pitstick also expressed his appreciation to Martin for his years of loyal service to the citizens of Bath Township. Pitstick described Martin as a fellow trustee who was “always easy to work with and who displayed a great sense of humor.”
“I have known John for at least 40 years and served with him as a trustee for almost 20 years. We attend the same church, so I know him as a parishioner, a trustee and a trusted friend,” said Pitstick.
Pitstick noted that while serving as township trustee, Martin also served on the Greene County Solid Waste Management District Committee, including the role as chairperson of the policy committee, and as a legislative reporter to the Greene County Township Association. According to Pitstick, Martin always had the art of dealing with people in a diplomatic way.
“We usually agreed on issues. However, if we didn’t, John accepted that, and it never affected our personal or working relationship. His insight from an attorney’s perspective will leave a definite void at our meetings,” Pitstick said. “I will certainly miss his advice and insight into township matters. However, we wish John the best in his retirement.”
Township Fiscal Officer Elaine Brown, who has served as township fiscal since 1989, expressed her best wishes to Martin on his upcoming retirement as well.
“John has been a source of advice and guidance to me for over 30 years, first as the township’s legal counsel and then as trustee,” said Brown. “To paraphrase, former Trustee Sarah Childers upon the retirement of Trustee John Ehrhart and the election of John Martin, ‘I have always sat with a John on the Board.’”
During an interview with Martin, the 82-year-old trustee said he initially made the decision to retire at the end of October at the beginning of this year.
“At that time, I didn’t have anyone in mind to replace me on the board of trustees, but I knew that someone would step up and do the job,” Martin said.
As of Oct. 31, the board of trustees has 30 days to appoint a qualified township resident to fill the vacancy. If no appointment is made within those 30 days, a majority of the persons designated as the “committee of five” on Martin’s last-filed nominating petition will have 10 days to appoint his replacement.
As a young attorney, Martin joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1961 where he worked as a special agent until 1966. Following his departure from the federal agency, Martin, his wife Mary Jo, and their family moved from New York to Ohio in 1966 and took up residency in Bath Township in 1967.
Martin opened a private law practice in Fairborn in 1966 where he continued to practice law until 2002. He also worked as a part-time magistrate for the Greene County Domestic Relations Court. Currently, Martin works as the court administrator for the Greene County Domestic Relations Court and will continue his duties there following his retirement as Bath Township Trustee.
During his reelection campaign in 2017, Martin stated that the most important issue for township trustees was to keep up the level of service local voters have come to expect in the face of declining revenue sharing from the State of Ohio. He also pointed out that continue cooperation and sharing with neighboring communities, especially the City of Fairborn, is a key to successful township government.
Martin will attend his final township meeting as a member of the board of trustees on Wednesday, Oct. 30. The public is welcome to attend and extend best wishes to Martin on his retirement. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the township office, located at 1006 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Rd. in Fairborn.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.