LIMA — Brian Winegardner was named Allen County’s third commissioner Thursday night, filling out the term of Greg Sneary, who retired.
The Allen County Sheriff Department’s chief deputy was selected out of nine candidates during a meeting of the Allen County Republican Party.
“I’m overwhelmed at the moment and humbled that they chose me for this prestigious position,” Winegardner said. “I’m excited to get in there and learn the position.”
A 1987 graduate of Allen East High School, Winegardner has served with the Allen County Sheriff’s Office since 1990 when he was hired as a deputy. Since then, he has climbed the ranks in the office, and now, he’s largely responsible for managing its $9.5 million budget as chief deputy. According to his resume, he also holds a number of human resource responsibilities with the office.
Outside of his job as chief deputy, Winegardner has some experience serving on public boards. From 2006 to 2013, he worked as a school board member with Allen East schools. He also helped coach the softball team there as a volunteer in the early 2000s.
As for his goals in office, Winegardner said he will be looking at helping the county deal with its budget and infrastructure issues, and he emphasized the need to keep economic development at the forefront of the county’s concerns.
His experience at the sheriff’s office will also most likely be helpful in regards to the county’s capital budget. A major project in the next year will be dealing with the Allen County Jail’s 30-year-old elevators, which will likely need to be completely replaced, he said.
“We had nine great candidates thanks to the strong infrastructure of the political party,” Allen County Republican Chairman Keith Cheney said. “I think he’ll be an excellent asset to the community and to the residents of Allen County. He’s a dedicated individual and knows how to get things done.”
With Winegardner officially picked by the party to fill out Sneary’s term through 2022, the board will gain some stability after having multiple vacancies on the board in the last year. Sneary had originally decided to retire prior to 2020, but stayed on until this past September after former commissioner Jay Begg suffered a serious accident.
At the time, the Allen County Republican Party filled Begg’s position with Interim Commissioner Beth Seibert, who officially landed a seat on the board after winning it in the November election.
Currently, the only Allen County commissioner with more than a year of experience on the job is Commissioner Cory Noonan, who congratulated Winegardner for gaining a seat on the board despite the tough competition.
“The experience he brings is going to be a true asset to the county,” Noonan said.
“I’m excited to have him join us. I think his extensive experience at the sheriff’s department will help. He complements us well and contrasts us,” Seibert said.
There’s no official date set for Winegardner’s first day on the job at this time, Cheney said, but he will be working with him over the next few days to figure out the timeline.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.