Two Nelsonville City Council members resign less than one week after city manager

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NELSONVILLE, Ohio – At its regular Monday night meeting, Nelsonville City Council formally accepted the resignation of former City Manager Scott Frank, effective last Friday, Jan. 6.


The next morning, council members Justin Booth and Cory W. Taylor resigned from the body. Both represented the entire city as at-large council members.

Council resignations

“After reflection, I have determined that I can no longer be an effective member of this council,” Booth wrote in a resignation letter obtained by the Independent. “Therefore, I am resigning my council seat effective immediately. Good luck to you all in your future endeavors.”

Taylor’s resignation notice, addressed to Council President Tony Dunfee, stated: 

I am not one that likes to play games and last night was affirmation that the games are not over. There is a cancer still in the city and upon showing evidence to you, you laughed. You brushed it off and even mocked my public record request skills. Bob, looking directly at me and saying, he is not my buddy or anything, Hmmm. Interesting to direct that toward me and now I even question is recommendation.

Unfortunately, I am not willing to play the game when it is rigged.

I used to have a friend that told that right is right and wrong is wrong.  I thought that was a highly regarded principal, evidently it is only a convenience.

Neither Booth nor Taylor could be immediately reached for comment. Their terms were to end Nov. 30, 2025, according to the Athens County Board of Elections.

Under the 1994 Nelsonville City Charter, vacancies are filled through appointment by the council. Booth, an automotive service director in Pomeroy and previously a member of the Nelsonville-York Board of Election, was appointed to council in July 2020

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Taylor, who works in insurance, served on the council from 2009 to 2017, and won election to the council again in 2019 after losing a bid for appointment to the council that summer.

Council responds to Frank’s resignation

Public interest in Monday’s council meeting was evident as around 20 people attended, and individuals remarked that council chambers were more packed than usual.

Resident Glennda Tingle, one of only two members of the public to address council, gave her thoughts regarding what the city’s next moves should be in light of Frank’s resignation.

“I have a recommendation since you will be looking for a new city manager, I’m assuming, and that is that an ad hoc committee be appointed, composed of three council members and four Nelsonville citizens,” Tingle told the council, adding that the committee would create an official job description. “A second responsibility for this committee would be to review all applicants for the position specifically to determine that statements, such as education, for example, are true.”

The council appointed Frank as interim city manager in February 2020. He was permanently hired in June 2020. 

The council appointed K.J. Tracy, the current interim Nelsonville police chief, to also serve as acting city manager.

Tracy has served as Nelsonville police chief since late November 2022, following the resignation of former Nelsonville Police Chief Scott Fitch who left to become Meigs County sheriff

A recent investigation by the Independent reported that former NPD Chief Fitch had claimed he had a master’s degree from a university that turned out to be a Pakistan-based diploma mill. 

It is unclear whether Frank knew at the time that Fitch had also just been fired from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations for lying about the education credential, falsifying an evidence vault inspection and posting over 100 racist or otherwise inflammatory Facebook interactions. 

Frank initially moved to appoint Fitch himself, just days after becoming city manager (it was determined the move was not legal). Tingle also suggested the committee explore human resources, Ohio “Sunshine Law” and mental health trainings.

Before adjourning the meeting, Council President Tony Dunfee read a prepared statement before the council:

The past two years for this city have brought change, growth, strength and diversity. There have been several people who have come and gone and many still part of the city that have helped us reach this pivotal moment. I hope we can all focus on the positive and learn from the difficulties that we have faced and move forward and 2023 and years to come. 

There’s not one person or one act that should define who we are as a community. Instead, we need to learn from our mistakes and grow with our successes. Continue to take pride in our hometown, support one another, and get involved in making the project successful. 

Let’s try and not use social media as a platform to attack one another. Instead, let’s find the good in our neighbor. Differences of opinion do not have to become attacks. Learning to agree to disagree, taking the time to allow someone to explain their position, and giving each other the benefit of the doubt is the best way for us to grow and prosper. 

We choose to live here. We should choose to make it great. When someone is speaking negative, help them find the positive and remind them that our attitudes and commitment are what will make the difference. 

It is my intention to live by my words and I challenge each of you to do the same and remember, when one of us starts to head away from this path, give a gentle reminder and encouragement to do better, and to be better.

Dunfee told the Independent Monday night that the job opening for city manager has not yet been posted.

Fire department shake-up 

Frank’s departure appeared to prompt Nelsonville Fire Department Chief Harry Barber to recommend that council bring back two members of the fire department staff: a senior firefighter and a part-time employee, who both recently resigned.

Council must draft legislation by Jan. 18 for the senior firefighter’s return. Council voted 6-1 to rehire part-time firefighter Dylan Burson; Councilman Nick Smith voted no.

Frank’s increasingly adversarial relationship with Barber and Frank’s view of the fire department’s performance has been the subject of discussion recently at council meetings and on social media. 

At a Dec. 6, 2022 Police and Fire Committee meeting, one resident argued back and forth with Frank about Barber’s efficacy as fire chief. Frank called Barber’s performance “lacking,” declining to provide details because “it would be pretty embarrassing.” 

Frank also debated with the resident about recent employee separations from the fire department. A public records request related to Frank’s interactions with the fire department is pending.

Nelsonville City Council meets the first and third Mondays of each month. Its next meeting will be Monday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in Nelsonville City Council Chambers, 211 Lake Hope Dr. More information, including a recording of the Jan. 9 meeting and its agenda, can be found at

Additional reporting by Dani Kington.

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