Goll gives up utilities chair post

SALEM – Longtime Salem Utilities Commission Chairman Geoff Goll resigned the chairmanship at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, saying he’ll remain a member of the commission.

He indicated an opportunity with Rotary International regarding polio eradication efforts will require some of his time and will require some travel. With the large projects facing the commission, such as the wastewater treatment plant upgrade, and a consent decree pending from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, he said there’s leadership in place that can devote the time necessary.

He moved for vice chairman Bob Hodgson to become the chairman and newest member Ben Funder burg to become vice chairman, which the three-member commission approved.

“It’s going to be an interesting ride,” Hodgson said, adding “Geoff’s leadership will be greatly missed.”

Goll still has time left on his term on the commission and plans to remain. He was first appointed in 1991 and has continued to be reappointed, serving as chairman since April 20, 1995.

He was asked recently to serve as the Zone 29 Polio Coordinator for Rotary International, with his area stretching from Iowa to New York, covering 34 Rotary districts and more than 3,000 clubs. He said the Rotary’s efforts to help eradicate polio are very personal to him because he had polio. He is a member of Salem Rotary.

Since 1988, Rotary has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to try to get the vaccine where it’s needed. He said the number of cases has dropped since then, but it’s still prevalent in some areas, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. A brand new case was reported recently in Somalia, the first since 2007.

As part of his duties, he’ll be speaking in Lisbon, Portugal and he’ll also be traveling to Rome and he’ll be promoting the polio eradication efforts.

During the city council meeting Tuesday, Mayor John Berlin discussed Goll stepping down as chairman and told council he wasn’t sure if his position with Rotary International will cause him to resign his position on the commission. He didn’t know Goll was going to make the announcement at the commission meeting, which he attended, saying that was his decision to step away.

All appointments to the Utilities Commission are mayoral appointments. Goll’s last reappointment was by former Mayor Jerry Wolford and his term doesn’t expire until after Berlin’s first term.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at mgreier@salemnews.net