By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Ward 6 City Commissioner Todd Ging resigned his position in a surprise move Wednesday.
Ging sent a letter to Mayor Bill Shewey and other city officials notifying them of his resignation, effective Feb. 20. The next Enid City Commission meeting is Feb. 21. Ging recommended commissioner-elect Dr. David Vanhooser be appointed to fill out the final months of his term. Ging’s term would have ended in May.
Ging told the Enid News & Eagle Wednesday he has accepted a new job with Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. Because of the commute, he no longer has the time to dedicate to the city position.
“I don’t have the time to devote that the citizens of Ward 6 deserve,” Ging said. “I can’t be in Tonkawa and go to meetings. When I was teaching, I could take the time off and go, to make up the time (later).”
Ging’s letter stated that after more than seven years of service, he has accepted a promotion at NOC. He said he has spoken with Vanhooser, who he said is capable and eager to begin his service.
“I hope you will consider Dr. Vanhooser, but the Commission may obviously do as they determine best,” Ging said.
City Attorney Andrea Springer said the commission will appoint someone to replace Ging for the remainder of his term. There is no law preventing the commission from choosing Vanhooser, Springer said.
Ging said he is proudest of his contributions to the improvement in the city’s safety department. The effort that was put into changing the atmosphere concerning safety of city workers and the improved status of the current department are satisfying, he said.
“We were on the Oklahoma Department of Labor bad boy list and being highly scrutinized. Having our safety director go to other towns and tell them what we are doing here, I’m glad we could do that,” Ging said.
His most remembered disappointment was the failure of the street repair bond project in 2008. A bond issue for bridge repairs easily passed, but the street improvement issue failed, largely because of opposition to widening West Randolph to four lanes. Ging said he believes stronger input from himself may have made a difference for the issue, which also included several other street improvement projects.
“That would have been a great way to fix our streets,” he said. Ging was opposed to widening Randolph.
Vanhooser, who won the Ward 6 seat Tuesday, said he received a personal phone call from Ging Wednesday and was told about his resignation. Ging asked Vanhooser if he would be interested in starting the job early.
“I told him I’d be honored. I’m very honored to do that,” Vanhooser said.
“We all owe Todd Ging a debt of gratitude for his service in Ward 6. He’s done an impeccable job,” Vanhooser said.
Vanhooser said would be pleased to take the commission seat earlier than May because a vote on a new downtown hotel is coming up quickly, and he also has strong opinions about the parks project, which is up for a vote in March.
On Feb. 5, commissioners viewed a proposed development plan for a new downtown hotel with two options:
• The city could own the hotel as a not-for-profit venture, finance its construction with bonds and benefit from the hotel revenue after the bonds mature.
• The hotel would be a private enterprise venture in which LodgeWell LLC, of Overland Park, Kan., would build, finance and operate the hotel.
LodgeWell would manage and operate the hotel in both scenarios.
City Manager Eric Benson plans to bring the proposal back before commissioners Feb. 21, to consider a master development agreement with LodgeWell and attendant issues.
Meanwhile, Enid residents will vote March 5 on a pair of proposals that would generate $50 million in revenue to upgrade the city’s parks system.