Meet Derek Merrin
In 2007, Derek Merrin was elected mayor in the City of Waterville by defeating a three-term Democrat to become the youngest-sitting mayor in Ohio. Two years earlier, Derek captured a council seat by receiving the most votes than any council candidate, including three incumbents. On his road to victory, he ran a grass-roots campaign knocking on virtually every door. His message of fiscal conservatism and open government rang true with voters.
As mayor, Derek governed as a strong fiscal conservative who stood-up for taxpayers. He successfully defeated new property tax assessments, while vocally opposing a new refuse tax, lodging tax, and license-plate fee increase. He spearheaded cost savings by sealing new contracts for 9-1-1 dispatching services, electric aggregation, and refuse collection along with privatizing many public works functions, which saved millions of dollars. His support for reducing government staff through attrition, curtailing bonuses, eliminating the City council’s slush fund, and aligning fringe benefits to private-sector standards restrained spending. To help the budget and create a business-friendly environment, Derek donated part of his mayoral salary to the general fund and personally paid for a special sign permit fee for city businesses. In 2009, Derek was named the Abraham Lincoln Public Official of the Year by the Lucas County Republican Clubs for his outstanding fiscal stewardship.
During his mayoral term, Derek became active in state and regional issues. In 2011, Derek’s research uncovered that the Toledo Regional Transit Authority had used $66,685 of tax dollars to fund its political action committee – through illegal loans. Derek’s astute discovery spurred a State Auditor’s finding for recovery and a new state law, H.B. 326, that instituted a criminal penalty for using tax dollars for political purposes. In 2011, Derek advocated for repeal of Ohio’s estate tax and testified before Ohio Senate’s Ways & Means Committee supporting full repeal. Derek’s bold stance was notable due to local governments receiving 80% of the tax’s revenue. However, Derek saw the bigger picture and knew the tax was unfair and put Ohio at an economic disadvantage. In 2010, Derek highlighted the county’s health department’s poor fiscal management and helped save local governments in Lucas County over $400,000 in two years – by preventing rate hikes and negotiating fairer contribution levels.
In 2012, State Auditor Dave Yost tapped Derek to conduct performance audits for financially-strapped schools and cities throughout Ohio. Derek’s fiscal expertise led many entities to achieve savings by becoming more efficient with their resources. Later on, Derek moved into an administrative role where he represented the State Auditor’s office in Northwest Ohio and played an active role in fighting fraud and public corruption.
Derek holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toledo and a Master’s in Public Administration degree from Bowling Green State University. He is a licensed Realtor and real estate investor. In 2012, Red Alert Politics named Derek one of the top 30 “Most Influential Conservatives Under 30 Years Old” in the nation.