Waterville Administrator To Retire, Jon Gochenour Named To Position

Waterville municipal administrator Jim Bagdonas (left) announced his retirement during the August 27 Waterville City Council meeting, at which time Mayor Lori Brodie (center) appointed current Finance Director Jon Gochenour (right) as his replacement. Bagdonas has been with the city for 14 years and will work through January 4, 2019. MIRROR PHOTO BY KAREN GERHARDINGER

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Waterville’s administrator, Jim Bagdonas, has an-nounced plans to retire on January 4, 2019.
During the August 27 city council meeting, Mayor Lori Brodie thanked Bagdonas for his 14 years of service, and also announced that the current director of finance and administration, Jon Goch-enour, will become the new administrator.
Bagdonas was hired in 2004 after 23 years with the city of Perrysburg as service-safety director and then as the city’s first administrator. He started as consultant to acting administrator Dale Knepper, then was appointed administrator in February 2005. He has the longest tenure of any Waterville municipal administrator.
“I promised five years, but stayed for 14,” Bagdonas said.
During that time, Bagdonas oversaw the transition of Waterville from a village to a city of more than 5,000 residents, and the changes required upon reaching city status. Other notable changes during his tenure include the construction of a new water supply line under the river to the Bowling Green Water Treatment Plant, the extension of utilities to the US 24/SR 64 interchange area, the acquisition of property along the river to re-establish the original public square, and the current replacement of the Maumee River bridge by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
He credits the success of these projects to a dedicated team effort including mayors, city council members, staff and committee members.
Brodie said that Bagdonas, a professional engineer, shared a level of expertise and experience that’s unique for most small towns. She pointed out that his knowledge of water lines, construction and government operations have been helpful in guiding Waterville through substantial changes.
“Waterville is definitely a better place since he has been here,” she said. “I learned most of what I know from Mr. Bagdonas about city structure.”
Bagdonas, 63, said that he timed his retirement in part to allow a smooth transition as changes are expected in management due to retirements in the near future.
While no retirements have been announced, Police Chief Dave LaGrange has stated his intent to retire after his 65th birthday in August 2019. Both the fire chief, Patrick Wambo, and public works director, Ken Blair, are also near retirement age, Bagdonas said.
“It’s my belief that the next municipal administrator should have the opportunity to fill these positions,” he said.
Gochenour was hired as director of finance and administration in July 2015 after serving as village administrator of Swanton for 12 years. Prior to his service in Swanton, he worked four years as the administrator and assistant administrator of Springfield Township. Gochenour also worked for a year at Providence Metropark as site historian while doing graduate work at The University of Toledo.
Growing up in the Toledo area, Gochenour graduated from Sylvania Northview, where he was involved in cross country, track and wrestling. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from UT. He is married to Lynne and they have two daughters, Lena and Nora.

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