The combined 93 years of service by three former Amherst public servants were lauded Sept. 24 by city council.
Former mayor David Taylor, council president John Dietrich, and auditor David Kukucka were the guests of honor as resolutions praising their contributions were read.
“I think it’s fitting we have you back here and say thank you,” said councilman Joe Miller, who sponsored the resolutions with councilman Chuck Winiarski.
“We obviously would not be in the great position we’re in today if it weren’t for the three of you,” he later told the trio.
Taylor stepped down as mayor at the end of 2016 as his protege, Mark Costilow, won election to the city’s highest executive office.
A Republican, his career included two terms as a second ward councilman, eight years as safety director and then two as safety-service director, and three terms as the city’s 35th mayor.
Taylor has “exemplified civic spirit, outstanding conduct, and devotion to the duties incumbent upon him” through the years, said a resolution.
It includes a short list of accomplishments as mayor: improvements to Amherst’s water, sewer, and electrical systems; upgrades to the water pollution control center, completion of the Jackson Street bridge; water contract negotiations with Elyria; securing more than $5 million in grant funding for projects; and enacting 12 balanced budgets.
“Nobody does this by themselves. It takes the help and cooperation of everybody,” said Taylor, who in office always shared credit for successes.
He thanked Dietrich for help and guidance and Kukucka for “keeping us fiscally responsible” through the decades.
Taylor also thanked administrative assistant Jami Anderson, saying his best decision was hiring her.
In return, current council president Jennifer Wasilk thanked Taylor for “12 years of enlightenment for the city.”
She also praised Dietrich for “setting such a good example.”
Dietrich started as Amherst’s electrical inspector in 1972 and served two more on the zoning board of appeals, was a member of the community investment corporation, and was council president for 18 years.
He “played a major role in the development and modernization of Amherst, with the relocation of LorMet Credit Union headquarters and attracting Precision Auto, Premier Toyota, and Premier Foods factory to Cooper Foster Park Road and Target to Oak Point Road,” a resolution in his honor said.
Kukucka started his political career as a fourth ward councilman and then an at-large council rep for a total of 10 years. He then served 12 years as auditor.
His resolution listed financial footwork that allowed for reconstruction of the Jackson Street bridge and receipt of eight Ohio State Auditor Awards as Kukucka’s chief accomplishments.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.