Stecker named Ferry law director

MARTINS FERRY – Paul Stecker was named the new law director for the city of Martins Ferry. Stecker was sworn in at Wednesday night’s council meeting by Mayor Paul Riethmiller.

Stecker will take the place of Dan Fry who has taken the position of Belmont County prosecutor after serving as law director for the city of Martins Ferry for 30 years.

“The only thing I would like to say is that I am very grateful for the appointment,” said Stecker. “I am excited about the opportunity. I grew up in Martins Ferry, I moved my family back here because I think it is a great place to raise a family, and I am excited to have the chance to help make it an even better place.”

Riethmiller also welcomed back all re-elected city council members and recognized them for their years of service to the city through council and the many other positions they have fulfilled within the city.

Council also voted to hire back city engineer Jeff Vaughn and City Council Clerk Lee Ann Cleary for 2014.

“I would like to personally welcome back six of our councilmen who are returning for another two-year term and welcome aboard our newest council member, Jack Regis Sr.,” said Riethmiller.

Riethmiller also asked council to pass by voice vote and then follow up with a detailed ordinance the creation of a management position titled “Service Superintendent” which would eliminate the unfilled positions of “Street Superintendent” and “Assistant Water Superintendent” so that he can begin interviewing interested prospects.

Service Director Chuck Bennett stated in his report that the break in the weather has allowed them to start cold patching all of the potholes created by the extreme cold, salt and plowing.

“In the last half of the year, a total of 258,000 pounds of hot mix asphalt was used on potholes and water breaks,” said Bennett. “Water breaks are as dependable as the potholes popping up, as many have occurred, especially during and right after the extreme cold weather from last week.”

Bennett also stated that on Monday, the city will observe Martin Luther King Day and there will be no trash pickup on that day. City offices will also be closed. Offices will be open at normal times on Tuesday. Monday’s trash will be picked up on Tuesday, and a third truck will be running.

Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland said in his report that the new police cruiser should arrive in nine working days. McFarland thanked the mayor and council in their help acquiring the new flat screen television that is mounted on the wall outside of the police station, adding that it has been a huge success.

The flat screen plays a continuous slide show of people with warrants in the 43935 zip code. There are currently 304 warrants issued in that zip code.

Fire Chief Jack Regis stated that he was re-elected for another two-year term. Regis asked that council to OK its request to shut down certain streets for the steak fry that will be held on May 17 from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Regis also asked council for help in updating turn out gear for the fire department. He is seeking assistance in replacing 12 sets that at this point would not pass inspection and could prove to be dangerous to those who are wearing it. They have applied for numerous grants to replace the turn out gear and have yet to receive grant money.

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Reese said that they are looking into a new carnival company for Betty Zane Days that will be held in August.

Van Dyne can be reached at