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County's fierce engineer contest coming to an end

One of the most heated campaign races of the Athens County election season will come to a simmering end this Super Tuesday.

Democratic hopeful Jeff Maiden, a design engineer and land surveyor with RJM Engineering Company — the firm he founded in Athens in 1993 — seeks to end incumbent engineer Archie Stanley’s 32-year hold on the county engineer job.

Maiden has campaigned on the platform of better utilizing taxpayer dollars by restructuring the salaries and benefits of engineer’s office employees. Other campaign goals include improving roads and bridges throughout the county by paving gravel roads and expanding one-lane bridges into more-accessible two-lane passages.

If elected to serve, Maiden says he will reorganize the payroll in the county engineer’s office to save more than $120,000 in the office’s budget.

Maiden said he intends to set “a new standard of what it means to be an effective county engineer.” He added that it will be important to service outer parts of the county that he believes are currently overlooked.

On the other election stump stands Stanley, who has spent much of his campaign time and energy refuting allegations made against him on editorial pages and in debates.

“I have run a very factual campaign,” Stanley said. “I have tried to refute everything that I’ve heard in my opponent’s campaigning.”

Citing records from the Ohio Department of Transportation, Maiden said he will pave more than 130 miles of gravel roads that Stanley has failed to fix during his 32-year term.

Records from Stanley’s office and a Post investigation done showed that close to 50 miles of road throughout Athens County remain unpaved, not 130 miles.

Maiden said he does not question ODOT’s conclusion but remains skeptical of the number of miles of unpaved road and would work to pave roads and clear any confusion if elected.

Stanley also addressed Maiden’s claims that many Athens County bridges are “structurally deficient” based on reduced weight limits or one-lane access by comparing those bridges to standard cars versus automatic cars.

“Many people prefer automatic cars,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that standard cars are functionally obsolete. I insist on replacing weak bridges in the county before one-lane bridges that are sturdy and can be used.”

Both candidates have worked continuously throughout campaign season to convince county ballot-casters to vote in their favor, using their parting words to thank voters for their support.

“I am extremely proud of my campaign and the hundreds of people that have been a part of it,” Maiden said. “We have stated nothing but the absolute truth.”

Stanley, who will be turning 65, said this could be the last time he runs for the position.

“I’ve been positive, and I never say never,” Stanley said. “I plan on having another successful five years. … Whether I win or lose, I want to thank the voters of Athens County for the 32 years, going to be 33 years, that has been my term.”

Super Tuesday polling locations in Athens County open their doors at 6:30 a.m. and will close at 7:30 p.m.

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