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John Hrosko is one of those men who always needs something to do.
The retiring Perrysburg Township administrator has fostered a dogged work ethic and a commitment to public service since his Army days, through his restaurant and retail management careers, and into his 13 years in local government.
Mr. Hrosko, 65, said he was looking forward to being "idle" for a month or two, but even his retirement plans sound busy.
"I'm gonna go hunt and I'm gonna play golf and I'm gonna fish. I'm going to kick back," he said.
He admitted that he "would find something to do," whether it be professionally or in public service. He said he hadn't planned on retiring so soon, but changes to the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System prompted him to do so by Dec. 31.
Rosanna Violi, assistant to the township administrator for 2-1/2 years, said Mr. Hrosko was a great boss who knew how to enliven potentially monotonous work days.
"I've learned a lot. ... He took me under his wing," she said. "He likes to keep us entertained. ... It's definitely fun to come to work."
Mr. Hrosko said it was important to bring some levity to the day.
"I try to be a little lighthearted, because some of the situations can be really grinding," he said.
Mr. Hrosko said he has had staff follow him from job to job, a mark of pride for him that his management would engender such loyalty. He still visits employees at The Andersons store near Franklin Park, where he was a manager for 15 years.
In the 1970s and '80s he and his wife, Sue, were in the restaurant business. They owned and operated Zenko's Olde World Deli in Perry's Landing, and then Mr. Hrosko bought the former Rhinefrank Hospital on Front Street in Perrysburg and converted it into Zenko's River House, which closed in 1988.
Mr. Hrosko also had worked for the University of Toledo, where he designed and implemented its payroll and financial management system, and for Bowling Green State University as a computer programmer and analyst.
He joined the Army in 1967 and was serving as "trick chief," or supervisor, of the I-Corps Communication Center during the Pueblo Crisis, when the USS Pueblo intelligence-gathering ship was attacked and captured by North Korean forces.
Mr. Hrosko's work for Perrysburg Township began in 1999, when he was elected as its part-time clerk -- a position that has since become the fiscal officer. Four years later, he was hired as the township's first-ever administrator, a position that trustee Chairman Robert Mack said includes the roles of chief financial officer and human-resources director.
"There seems to be no shortage of personnel issues," Mr. Mack said, adding that an administrator can provide continuity as various trustees are elected.
Mr. Hrosko said that when he started, he had to hit the ground running.
The township was brokering multimillion-dollar deals with the city Rossford for development of the Crossroads of America area, near the junction of the Ohio Turnpike and I-75, which became a protracted legal battle. The township ultimately abandoned its effort to recoup a $5 million loan to Rossford for an arena and amphitheater complex that never materialized.
Mr. Hrosko also oversaw the deal that brought a FedEx Ground distribution center to the township, which he said helped keep the shipping company in the Toledo area instead of a possible move to Michigan.
Becky Johnson, the township's payroll clerk, said it was also helpful on occasion just to have someone else in the office to answer questions, because the township trustees all work full-time jobs.
"We need somebody like that," she said.
Mr. Hrosko describes himself as straightforward and honest.
"If things aren't right, I'll tell you. If people do a good job, I'll praise them," he said.
Walter Celley, the township's law director, will succeed Mr. Hrosko as administrator.
Mr. Hrosko said he plans to keep his home in the township after retirement because of its freedoms, including the absence of an income tax and the right to raise animals not allowed in bigger cities.
Mr. Mack expressed gratitude for the job Mr. Hrosko had done.
"Each day John had to wear many different hats to be able to handle the various things that confront his desk," he said.
The trustee said that he had become good friends with Mr. Hrosko over time.
"It will be fun to go relax and not have to talk shop," he said.
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