By Dustin Ensinger
While the relationship between officials in the Village of Sunbury and their counterparts could be described as “strained,” so too could the relationship between Delaware County Administrator Tim Hansley and Delaware County Commissioner Ken O’Brien when it comes to the issue of negotiations between the two entities.
The two clashed on Monday over O’Brien’s accusations that Hansley tried to scuttle a deal between the township and the village.
“I resent the fact that somehow you and others have said (Delaware County Economic Development Director) Gus (Comstock) and I were, that we killed this deal,” Hansley said. “That never, ever happened.”
Hansley, in turn, accused O’Brien of trying to sabotage the deal.
His accusation is based on several emails O’Brien provided to Berkshire Township officials, including one from Hansley to county officials announcing that the City of Westerville had decided not to partner with the township on the creation of a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD).
In another email forwarded to township officials, Comstock asked a City of Columbus officials if there was any truth to a rumor that Ohio’s largest city would be the township’s partner.
O’Brien’s accusations are creating a “rumor mill,” Hansley said.
“It sounds like your continuing fight and problem with Gus Comstock is hurting this project,” said Hansley.
O’Brien said he was just trying to inform Berkshire Township officials of “what the county is involved in.” He also questioned the wisdom of bringing the City of Delaware into the discussion as a possible JEDD partner with the township.
“Why would Sunbury not take that as a threat?” he asked.
The inclusion of Comstock in the discussion between the village and the township was also questioned by O’Brien.
“You know that Berkshire and other townships have no successful workings with him,” O’Brien said.
“He’s our director of development,” Hansley shot back. “That’s his job.”
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.