John Reed slated to retire in 2020

PARKERSBURG — The director of the Wood County Solid Waste Authority is starting to think about his eventual retirement.

Director John Reed released a press release Wednesday evening saying he has negotiated his final retirement package with the Board of Directors, which will allow him the opportunity to retire at the end of 2020.

Reed, who also serves on Parkersburg City Council and is council president, said his term on council expires the same time.

“I have decided not to seek re-election to that position, which will allow me to fully retire as I desire,” he said in the press release. “I have decided to announce that decision along with my retirement plans, to afford citizens in my council district an even greater opportunity to find good candidates to run in the upcoming election.”

Reed serves the Seventh District.

Reed said it has been a privilege to have served the public for so many years, first being elected in 1981 to serve his first term on council, and then to follow up with another term 36 years later.

A part of the agreement worked out is an option to stay on to assist his eventual replacement in a training capacity, which would be a part-time position, and would last no more than one additional year.

Reed will have to inform the board if he wishes to do that by July 1, 2020.

“I thank a really great and progressive board of directors from the Solid Waste Authority for allowing me to take the agency in a new direction over the past 10 years, which has resulted in many new programs, a greater awareness of who we are, and a much cleaner Wood County as a result,” Reed said in the press release. “Paul Thornton, Harold Taylor, Blair Couch, Andy Hartleben and Bob Buchanan comprise the board that have supported my efforts this past decade, and to all of them I will remain forever grateful.”

In the press release, Hartleben said the people of Wood County should be proud of the work Reed has done with the Solid Waste Authority.

“I am especially proud of the over 200 benches and 100 picnic tables, made of recycled milk jugs, that have been placed around our county,” he said. “John has been a great public servant.”

In a letter to the Wood County Solid Waste Authority Board acquired by The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, dated June 21, Reed stated he has begun to plan for his retirement and his eventual exit from the position.

Reed is asking the board for a raise to help offset some expenses associated with health care benefits.

“As I draw nearer to my retirement in 2020, I would ask the board to consider applying to my existing contract an additional annual pay of $5,000,” he wrote in that letter. “As I have only been in the board’s employment for 10 years, I am limited to the amount my retirement will provide in the future.

“Also, I began after the deadline to qualify for any health benefits, post retirement. This increase will allow me some funds to provide supplemental health insurance at my own expense once I do retire.”

If he continues on a part-time basis to train the next director, his salary would not exceed $20,000, the letter said.

Thornton, who serves as the board president, said nothing has been specifically discussed by the board at this point.

He talks with Reed on a daily basis and said the Wood County Solid Waste Authority was in “good shape.”

“John will retire one day, but it will be awhile from now,” Thornton said.

County officials have had discussions about the possibility of moving the Solid Waste Authority office to Mountwood Park from its current location at the Parkersburg City Building.

Reed said board members felt that Mountwood Park was too far away. Discussions have been done about getting a storefront in downtown to house the office. Their current space in the Parkersburg City Building is being provided rent-free.

“Why would we pay the taxpayer’s money on rent when we are getting the space free,” Reed asked Wednesday. “I am only in the office a couple hours a day (while he is out doing compliance checks and other duties).”

Thornton said there are no plans to move the office at this time.

“The office is in the center of Parkersburg,” he said. “It is a great location.”