New trustee begins duties on Niles Township board

Published 6:19 am Thursday, November 18, 2010

It didn’t take new Niles Township Trustee Gary Conover long to win over Clerk Marge Durm-Hiatt.
The day after he was sworn in, she asked Conover if he was ready for township attorney interviews this week, as the township is in the process of hiring a new attorney. He had already reviewed the paperwork and was planning on attending the interviews.
“Gary’s jumped right in,” Durm-Hiatt said. “He’s very serious about getting up to speed.”
It helps he knows the community and is familiar with local government, as a lifelong resident and a former board member from 1992 to 1996.
The board selected Conover on Monday by a 4-1 vote with Supervisor Jim Kidwell voting no.
Conover, 61, takes over for former trustee Michael Bailey, who resigned in October after coming under fire for pleading guilty to indecent exposure in April.
“I had thought about running again,” Conover said. “So I thought this would be a good opportunity to give it a try again.”
Durm-Hiatt said although the decision to pick among the four finalists was difficult, Conover’s experience stood out.
“Probably one of the main reasons is we thought it would be a relatively seamless transition,” she said. “He served on many of the committees that we have.”
Durm-Hiatt called Conover “a pretty practical guy” and said he has been a regular at township meetings when important issues are on the table.
“He watches the paper and watches what the township is involved in,” she said.
Durm-Hiatt is glad to see the situation finally put behind them.
“It was hard running with just five (trustees) with all the issues out there with the landfill and the new attorney,” she said. “Having a full board is better for getting input.”
Conover, who works out of his Niles Township home as a field service representative for Gulfstream Aerospace, will serve the remainder of Bailey’s term, which expires in 2012.