Diebold ‘humbled’ to be elected trustee
Sworn in last month, Diebold attended his first official meeting as a trustee Jan. 9. Diebold, who turned 41 Jan. 20, said he was “extremely humbled” to be elected.
Diebold first ran for a seat unsuccessfully in November 2011 and was later among the applicants after Trustee Brenda Patterson died in January 2012. Gary Zoldesy was appointed by then Summit County Probate Court Judge Todd McKenney to serve the remainder of her term.
In the General Election race this past fall, Diebold received 36 percent of votes to win a seat on the board. He won one of two open seats, along with incumbent Tom Seese, the top vote-getter, who had 40 percent of votes.
Zoldesy did not run for re-election, and Seese and Diebold beat out challenger Rod Willis, who had 24 percent of votes.
Diebold said he has lived in Coventry for the past nine years, but besides four years spent working in Michigan and his time in college, he has always lived near the Portage Lakes. He attended Manchester Local Schools through the end of high school, graduating in 1991, and went on to major in environmental hazardous materials with an emphasis on industrial hygiene, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Findlay in 1996.
For the past eight-and-a-half years, he has worked for Advanced Pneumatics Inc. in Mentor, currently as a regional sales manager representing H&S Tool Inc., selling portable machining equipment to the power plant and refinery industries.
Diebold has been involved in the community, participating in local annual Polar Bear Jump events for more than a dozen years. He was the leading fundraiser for a jump to raise money to provide Christmas for families in need this past December, and he’s helped with the Portage Lakes Kiwanis Santa Delivery for the past seven years, volunteering as Santa for the past three, he said.
“If there’s a fundraiser, chances are I’m there,” he said.
This past October, Diebold became engaged to Julie Moline, who has three daughters. A wedding is planned for June 2015.
Diebold said he has been attending trustees’ meetings in Coventry for more than five years, but an interest in local politics goes back further.
His grandfather, Jack Unger, was a trustee in Franklin Township for 15 years during the 1970s and ’80s, he said, and he remembers joining him in campaigning door-to-door.
Unger, who died in 1990, set an example for him on how to lead a township well — if he came home frustrated after a government meeting, Unger would call the person he had a problem with and invite him or her to have coffee at McDonald’s and resolve the issue, Diebold said.
Diebold got involved in student government while in high school and served as president of his fraternity house for two years while attending college, he said.
He was on Coventry’s Zoning Commission from 2009 to 2013 and served as chair for about one year, 2012-13.
Serving as trustee, Diebold said he plans to be easy to get ahold of and get back to people quickly when he isn’t available.
He’ll listen to both sides of a story and pursue answers to questions that come his way, he added. If he can’t help in his role as trustee, he’ll try to point people in the right direction, he said.
Diebold said he has some plans for his time in office, including making sure the township is spending wisely. He is interested in pursuing further developing the township’s revenue base, specifically the area around Coventry’s Clock Tower on Main Street and Manchester Roads, and bringing in more small businesses, he said.
Trustees need to continue to look at the township’s biggest expense, its Fire Department, and consider the possibility of regionalizing, he noted.
“People are taxed out,” he said, adding the township also needs to continue looking for grant money. “We need to turn over every rock and look for state funding. We need to dig around a little bit more.”
Diebold said he wants to keep the public informed, relaying the message to people that township officials are trying to save them money, as he and his fellow trustees work behind the scenes.
“Whatever comes my way, I’m going to be there,” he said.
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