Search begins for council replacement

Jonathan Wright - [email protected]

ABERDEEN, Ohio — The Aberdeen Village Council now has a vacancy to fill among its ranks following the resignation of council member Tony Combess.

After allegedly uncovering a marijuana growing operation in multiple properties belonging to Combess last week by several officials of Brown County law enforcement, an investigation was prompted into the operation. Mayor Jason Philips said the council is keeping its distance from the investigation due to the obvious conflict of interest, however he confirmed he expected Combess to submit his resignation from the council. He did that last Friday.

According to Commander Justin Conley of the Brown County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force, on Aug. 29, agents from the force, along with assistance from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol, identified an alleged marijuana growing operation at a residence on Black Gum Street in Aberdeen.

After a search of the property, officials acquired around $17,000 worth of marijuana and five firearms, police said.

Charges for cultivation of marijuana and trafficking marijuana with a firearm specifications are pending for Combess, Conley said. Once the weight and lab results of the plants are determined, then the case will be brought before a Brown County grand jury.

To fill the now-vacant seat, Philips said it is a relatively simple process of selecting another member of the council.

The first order to accomplish, Philips said, is for the council to review and accept Combess’ resignation. This review will take place during council’s next meeting.

After the review, should the council accept the resignation, Philips said it has 30 days to select a new member to fill the vacancy. If the 30 days go by without the council reaching a decision, the duty of finding a new council member falls upon the mayor.

According to Philips, typically the council exceeds its limit so he ultimately decides a candidate to appoint. The last three to four times when a council member was selected, Philips had the responsibility, he said.

In some cases, however, once the council approves the resignation, replacements for the vacancy may be chosen during the same meeting, Philips said. He expects there will be several individuals who will be interested in the seat.

Since the council has not reviewed the resignation letter, Philips said the letter hasn’t been released to the public yet.

Jonathan Wright

[email protected]