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.


Last night’s council meeting

Sorry for the pause in updates. Had to clear my system from social media. But I’m not going to stop providing transparency into your city government. Here are my notes from last night’s city council meeting:

Capital projects

We heard a presentation about the storm water projects completed in 2018, and those getting starting in 2019. The ones this year included the Arndale culvert replacement (necessitated by the caved-in road), the Marhofer Road retention basin, and an increase in rainwater storage capacity near the east end of Mohican. For 2019, we plan to create a bypass sewer to assist Holy Family Church, to replace a storm sewer near Greentree and improve ditches on Baumberger. The 2019 projects will cost about $1 million — all made possible by our storm-water fees that you see on your water bill.

We also heard from our service director about the 2018 road-repair program. We spent a record $2.2 million to fix roads in 2018. The only road we didn’t get to was Norton, from Hudson Drive to Darrow; but this will be the first one tackled in 2019. Next year’s biggest project will be the Graham Road resurfacing, taking place from the Silver Lake railroad tracks to Elm Road. Before that, watch for the traffic signals at the Seasons Road/Route 8 exit to be functional within the next few weeks.

Council shakeup

In the last two weeks, At-Large Councilman Pribonic became Mayor Pribonic. Mayor Costello became Ward 2 Councilman Costello.  Ward 2 Councilman Doug Herchick became private citizen Herchick. With this reshuffling, we are down one councilperson — an at-large member. In order to fill that one-year vacancy, Council President Riehl has determined a process whereby people can submit resumes and cover letters to the council office by Dec. 20 at noon. Each sitting councilperson can choose one applicant to include in the interview process. Then the interviews will be held the Friday after Christmas.

Leaf pickup

This has been a challenging fall season for leaves, because they fell so late and snow started so early. This caused piles of leaves to freeze, and required our service department to focus on snow removal rather than leaf pickup. By the time we are completed, every district will have been collected twice. As of Wednesday, we completed Section 1. We are now collecting Section 2. It might be 2019 before we finish the second collection on Section 3.

Downtown Stow

The city’s request for proposals came up empty. But strangely enough, several developers have shown interest after the proposal deadline. So we remain optimistic that we can create a downtown Stow, without using millions of your tax dollars, but rather with millions of private dollars. Mayor Pribonic is every bit as committed to this as I am. Stay tuned…

Meeting Notes

Press Releases