Filling the council vacancy

Last night, city council met to fill the at-large council vacancy, created when John Pribonic was elected Mayor in November.

We had more than 2 dozen applicants. President Matt Riehl decided each councilperson could nominate one applicant to be interviewed. We had 5 interviewees last night, each with impressive credentials:

Jim Costello – His resume includes 15 years on city council, 6 months as (interim) mayor, and a career in the Navy.

Sindi Harrison – She has been an attorney in the private sector for 11 years. She has served on Stow’s Parks Board for the past 5 years. She was the person I selected to be interviewed.

Jeremy McIntyre – He has worked for the Ohio Department of Transportation and currently administers road construction projects in the private sector. From 2005-2014, he served in the Army. He received a Purple Heart for his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Tom McKinney – He is Mr. Stow in many ways, having been the head golf pro at Fox Den from 1978-2013 and past President of the Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce.

Doug Herchick – He served 6 months on city council, when Costello moved from Ward 2 to the mayor’s office. Residents gave us good feedback about his level of service during this time.

Jim wanted to serve at-large, so he could continue representing the entire city, as he did as interim mayor. Serving at-large also gives Jim and his wife to find a house outside of Ward 2, and he is actively hunting for a house.

For me, this wasn’t about politics. Although he’s a Democrat, Jim is the most qualified and it wasn’t close. I also believe he earned the “promotion,” by stepping up to serve as mayor, when no other councilmember could do so. Jim received a 3-2 vote (Jim himself did not vote, Lowdermilk and Adaska voted no).

Our job wasn’t done. Appointing Costello created a vacancy in Ward 2. Three of the interviewees are also Ward 2 residents (Herchick, McKinney and Harrison). Herchick held the job in Costello’s absence last year, and did a good job. McKinney would be a solid councilman, without question. I pushed for council to consider Harrison.

Why? She shares my values as to the importance of infrastructure. She is a fiscal conservative. She is a lawyer, who can help protect the city’s legal interests (a role I have served in the past 9 years). The motion to appoint Sindi passed by a 4-1 count (Adaska voted no). I think she’s going to make a fantastic addition to our team.

Council will meet Jan. 2 for our organizational meeting. The next regular meeting is Jan. 10.