EC commissioner Tom Ferrell faces more back surgery

PERKINS TWP. Erie County commissioner Tom Ferrell, who missed several weeks of meetings last year wh
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

PERKINS TWP.

Erie County commissioner Tom Ferrell, who missed several weeks of meetings last year while recovering from back surgery, said Monday he faces back surgery again.

Ferrell said he doesn't know yet how long he'll be absent this time, but he expects to miss "a couple of meetings" while recovering.

County records show that Ferrell missed seven meetings from March 26 through May 3 because of last year's surgery.

The commissioners generally try to avoid making major decisions when one of their members cannot attend the meeting. County administrator Mike Bixler said he will try to include Ferrell in any major budget decisions that need to be made. County officials are searching for budget cuts to make expenditures balance available revenues.

Ferrell, 53, is the longest-serving commissioner in Erie County history, and going back to 1838 is the only commissioner to be elected to six four-year terms on the county commission. He defeated Republican nominee Mike Printy on Nov. 4 to win his sixth term, and currently is president of the commission.

Commissioner Nancy McKeen, who will retire at the end of December, said Ferrell told her he will have the surgery in December and expects to be gone for about a month.

"He didn't say a word during the campaign. I didn't know he was going to have surgery until a week after the election," McKeen said.

Printy, though, said Friday the news was not unexpected.

"I think it was pretty well known. It was not a surprise," he said.