Clinton County GOP appoints Matt Purkey to Fourth Ward

By Nathan Kraatz -

WILMINGTON — A Clinton County Republican Party committee has chosen Matt Purkey as the representative of Wilmington’s Fourth Ward on Wilmington City Council.

Purkey acknowledged that circumstances surrounding his appointment are weird – Marian Miller, who won the seat, chose to become Mayor John Stanforth’s executive assistant.

Despite those circumstances, he’s excited to represent the Fourth Ward.

“I’m very honored that I was chosen and happy to serve and to move things forward with our city council,” he told the News Journal.

Purkey was out of town and unable to attend the meeting. In place of a presentation, he wrote a letter to the party.

“I believe that there is a time for a change in local government of our city,” Purkey wrote. “I see a group of well-intentioned citizens that care deeply for our city, yet seem to be divided into factions.”

Those factions, he wrote, halt progress.

Purkey also wrote that the city passes unrealistic budgets and needs transparency, communication and strong leadership.

“I believe that we are on the cusp of great things happening here in the city,” Purkey wrote. “We just need some leadership and direction to push us toward it.”

Purkey worked as a general manager of a large corporate restaurant in Cincinnati and Dayton, he wrote, and he fell in love with Wilmington, moved here and became bar manager of the General Denver, where his wife works.

Purkey was appointed by a 2-1 vote after being nominated by John Schum and seconded by Joe Gigandet.

The single vote was for Diana Allen. One of the four members of the party’s Fourth Ward committee abstained.

The four votes were kept anonymous, similar to a traditional election. Lois Allen and Rebecca “Becky” Riley serve with Schum and Gigandet on the committee. Riley nominated Diana Allen, who was seconded by Lois Allen.

Diana Allen admitted she was a wild card of a candidate.

“I have lived everywhere from Hawaii to New York, and to say that I have the ability to adapt is something of an understatement,” she said. “I’m a single mother, and I am no stranger to budgeting.”

Diana Allen said she was a business manager and led by example.

“Being part of a community starts at the bottom and works its way up, and I need to show (my children) and everyone else that you have to get involved,” she said.

Diana Allen said the city wants creative thinkers who can solve problems, generate revenue and create jobs.

Rob Jaehnig, formerly the Fourth Ward’s council member, and Linda Eichelberger, who ran for council at large last year, were also considered. Neither Jaehnig nor Eichelberger received nomination.

Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.

By Nathan Kraatz