Bob Fracasso did not run for re-election as Harlem Township fiscal officer in the November election. Julie DeBolt ran, won the vacant seat, and Fracasso officially retired March 31 after serving as the township’s fiscal officer for the past 12 years.
Asked how he felt about retiring from the township fiscal officer’s position after serving three consecutive four-year terms, Fracasso said he had mixed emotions.
“I guess I’ll really know how I feel on April 1,” Fracasso said March 30, one day before the official end of his term. “I’ve really liked my job, but I had some medical issues last year. I’ll be 74, and with four more years I asked myself if I really want to do this. I decided it would be an injustice to the township if I got sick again. I thought some new blood would be better.”
Fracasso spoke about the trustees that he’s worked with during his terms in office – current trustees Jerry Paul, Dave Jackson and Carl Richeson; and former trustees Bob Singer and Chuck Bachman.
“In my estimation the Harlem Township board of trustees is the best township board in Delaware County,” Fracasso said. “There’s a high level of cooperation between the board members. They may have differences of opinion, but they discuss things and I’ve never heard a heated argument. This board of trustees protects the residents’ money. They take care of it like their own by being very conservative.
“The new fiscal officer, Julie DeBolt, is very capable,” Fracasso continued. “I’ve worked with her since the first of the year and found that she’s the type that has good organizational skills, she’s very knowledgeable, and she’ll be a good fit with our trustees. I believe she’s going to be a very good fiscal officer.”
Originally from Columbus and an Aquinas High School graduate, he admits he was a city boy when Fracasso came to Harlem Township.
Asked how he became involved in the township, he said it was when the Harlem Township Division of Fire began back in 1973.
“Bill Fling had an article in the paper, The Sunbury News, asking if anybody wanted to start a fire department,” Fracasso said. “The meeting was at the old Harlem Township Hall, and it was packed. I signed my name at the meeting and that’s how I got Badge Number 2. Bill Fling was chief and he had Badge Number 1.”
Fracasso was a volunteer firefighter from 1973 to 1999. He’s still an auxiliary member of the department, but not an active volunteer.
“I got to meet a lot of people back then,” Fracasso said. “Being a city boy, I really fell in love with the down-to-earth good people in the township.”
Fracasso also founded Fracasso’s Village Pizza in 1976, a business he sold 26½ years later, but a business that still uses his name and recipes.
Fracasso said in the mid-’70s he was working for a company where employees went on strike for four months.
“I had built a new home, and with the strike I didn’t have two nickels to my name, so I started the pizza shop and said this would never happen to me again,” Fracasso said. “It started out with three tables and an old heater in the corner. The heater made so much noise you couldn’t talk until it was done.”
Fracasso, tired of seven-day work weeks, sold the pizza shop 14 years ago. The fiscal officer’s position came open, and he was tired of sitting at home doing nothing. He ran for the office and won – for three terms.
Asked what he intends to do now that he’s retiring, Fracasso, who is an amateur vintner, said he would make wine, enjoy his family and garden, and travel a bit.
Harlem Division of Fire Chief Dale Fling described Fracasso as a super individual.
“He’s always had the Harlem Township community at the forefront of everything that he’s ever done,” Fling said. “Many people might not know that he was one of the original gang that started Little League football in the Big Walnut community, along with my father. I know the board of trustees has been very pleased with Bobby’s activities as fiscal officer. He’s just a good asset to the township overall.”
Fracasso said i he wants to thank all of the township residents who voted for him each time he was on the ballot.
“They trusted me,” Fracasso said. “I’m thankful for that kind of community support.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093