Jeff Ferrell is no newcomer to Perkins Township government.
He has served since 1989 on Perkins Township's Zoning Board.
And when Perkins' fire Chief Richard Myosky decided to buy a new fire truck, he invited Ferrell, 49, a captain in the Sandusky Fire Department, to go along on a shopping trip. Ferrell has experience in buying vehicles for Sandusky.
But Ferrell's influence on township affairs is about to soar. Next month, he takes office as the township's new trustee, replacing Tom Pascoe, who decided to retire.
Ferrell, 49, comes to the board as the township faces a series of complicated and interrelated real estate decisions. Trustees have to decide whether to sell Sartor Park and the fire station on U.S. 250, and also have a "For Sale" sign in front of the township hall building.
They have to decide whether to move the police department to a building that will be jointly occupied by the Sandusky police station, as recommended by a study commission. The township's road crews don't have enough space to store their equipment. And the township has to decide how fast to develop the town's new Strickfaden Park on Bell Avenue.
Ferrell said he'd like to form a committee that includes town trustees, other public officials and people from the private sector to sort through some of the real estate questions.
It makes little sense to put a "for sale" sign in front of the town hall building without doing any planning, he said. If anyone made a good offer to buy the building, he'd want to move quickly to develop the property, Ferrell said.
In an interview last week, Ferrell made the following other points:
* He isn't sold yet on placing the Sandusky and Perkins police departments in a common location.
"The police department right now is operating out of a paid-off building," said Ferrell, who said he hasn't been convinced a joint police station will provide the necessary savings.
* Before merging police dispatch operations in Perkins with Sandusky's police dispatch, Perkins trustees ought to await the outcome of Erie County's regional dispatch study.
"I think it makes more sense to wait for the county report to come out," he said.
* The trustees ought to begin each year by spelling out their goals and objectives.
"That would give us a map to operate by," Ferrell said.
* The township's two fire stations, dating back to the days when the township's fire department was manned mostly by volunteers, are inadequate and ought to be replaced.
* It's time for the township to hire an administrator to serve as a boss of the township's more than 70 employees and overseer of its $8 million budget.
A township administrator would provide a more professional chain of command; the police chief, fire chief and highway administrator would report to the township administrator, who in turn would answer to trustees, Ferrell said.
The outgoing trustee, Pascoe, thinks a township administrator is a good idea, too.
"A township administrator could handle all of the day-to-day problems. He could handle the negotiations," Pascoe said.
The township's trustees are trying to run the township's business while they also work in day jobs, Pascoe said.
"In my case, it was a little bit easier because I was retired," he said.
Ferrell, a 28-year veteran of the Sandusky Fire Department, has two sisters who still live in the area and an older brother who also lives in Perkins Township, Thomas Ferrell Jr. His brother is a longtime Erie County commissioner and was himself once a Perkins Township trustee. The late Thomas Ferrell Sr. was the owner of Ferrell's TV.
Ferrell and his wife, Annette, have two children who are college students. Karie, 21, is majoring in aeronautical engineering at The Ohio State University. Brett, 18, is a civil engineering major at the University of Akron.