New year, new roles for Berdings after a job exchange at the elected office
FAIRFIELD TWP. – There is still a Berding on the Township of Fairfield Board of Directors and the Fairfield Board of Education.
These are not the same Berdings who were in these offices last month.
Susan Berding stepped down from the board at the end of December. Her husband, Michael, left the Fairfield City Schoo District board at the same time.
Michael was elected to replace Susan on city council in the November election, becoming a trustee on January 1. Her daughter, Abigail, 31, was elected to replace her father on the school board, also effective January 1.
All three live in Fairfield Township. The school district boundaries include both Fairfield and the Township of Fairfield.
“I had been on the board for eight years,” said Michael. “While I always felt that we continued to make a difference in the community, I felt that I was called to serve our community differently.”
The decision not to run for office kicked off
It all started when Susan Berding decided not to run for the Township of Fairfield Board of Directors. Her job, she said, required more frequent trips out of town.
This sparked a family discussion. Michael then decided to run for his seat instead of running for a third term on the Fairfield Board of Education, where he has served as chairman for the past three years.
Abigail then decided to run for the seat her father was vacating. Michael and Abigail both won their respective races. Michael is now the Township Administrator and Abigail is a member of the school board.
“I had been on the board of directors for eight years. While I always felt that we continued to make a difference in the community, I felt that I was called to serve our community differently, ”said Michael.
“I was convinced the Fairfield school board was in great shape. We had great leaders and they would continue to be successful without me. “
“Everything I planned to do, I did. “
Susan felt the same about her five plus years as a director.
“Everything I set out to do, I did. The township is back on track, ”said Susan. “I really enjoyed being an administrator for the people of this township. It was a difficult decision for me to leave.
It highlights the achievements of the last five years: construction of a new fire station, a public works building, the hiring of a police chief and the subsequent redevelopment and expansion of the police station.
The Heroes and Vonnie Vail Court parks were modernized as well as the township dog park.
“Road maintenance is back. It gave me a lot of pride to be able to serve, ”said Susan.
“I think Michael will make an even bigger difference. I think he will take it to the next level.
While a member of the school board – its last three chairman – Michael served as the governing body’s representative to the Butler Tech school board for seven years, of which he was chairman for five years.
Michael already focused on upcoming projects
As a director, Michael said he wanted to continue his wife’s work. He has specific projects in mind.
“I think it’s important that we have adequate staff in the police and fire departments and that we would like to add more full-time staff for both,” Michael said.
“I think the Veterans Memorial may need some help to complete and I want to continue with projects that are already underway.”
One of those projects, he said, is revamping the zoning plan.
“They were in the process of doing it when it was put on hold to get more feedback from citizens,” Michael said.
“It was my way of giving back”
Abigail said her parents have always emphasized the importance of giving back to the community. She believes she can bring a new perspective to the school board.
“It was my way of giving back to something that means so much to me as a graduate,” said Abigail, a 2008 Fairfield High School graduate.
“I want to continue working to provide a safe and secure environment for staff and students while promoting equality and inclusion for all.”
To prepare for her new role, Abigail said she has attended numerous school board meetings over the past few months.
“Susan and I are extremely pleased and proud that Abby has continued to follow into public service,” said Michael.
“It will be a lot of fun… and moving. We raised her to be a good person and to do the right thing. She will. She is an intelligent young woman. I told her to be herself.