A weighty role to play

First Posted: 2/10/2015

LIMA — For Jim Offenbaker, his new occupation can carry a great deal of weight with it.

Formerly the athletic director for Lima City Schools, Offenbaker took a part-time position with the Allen County Auditor’s Office in July to work as the county’s lone weights and measures inspector, a job he detailed Tuesday to the Kiwanis Club of Lima.

“I saw it on craigslist,” he said. “I thought it sounded insteresting. It said ‘10 hours a week,’ and I thought it would be good for something to do.”

As it would turn out, “something to do” would end up becoming checking the some 900 gasoline pumps in Allen County, along with a variety of scales. These scales range from those that weigh produce at the grocery store to the ones that weigh officers at the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The position also comes with a great deal of education, with inspectors given 18 months to take 20 lessons to become certified.

“I’m just now getting ready to take my first test,” Offenbaker said.

Regulations require that each pump in the county gets checked once a year, including checking for leaks, ensuring all seals are in place, checking hoses for cracks as well as pumping five gallons of gasoline into a special container, with each pump needing to be within six cubic inches over or under the correct amount. Pumps shortchanging customers must have a yellow bag placed over the nozzle while the pump is repaired.

“It takes a lot of time and effort,” Offenbaker said.

Other weights and measures checked include retail price scanners and scales, another daunting task.

“There are over 40 scales in Meijer alone,” Offenbaker said. “I spent three hours at the Chief on Lima’s east side checking meat.”

While this job has made Offenbaker’s retirement a lot busier, it has also been very rewarding.

“It gets me out, I see a lot of people and it’s fun,” he said. “But it’s a serious position. It really is.”

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