Stow will have a new mayor

Certainly, you’ve heard that Mayor Sara Kline was interviewing for the Parks Director job in Cuyahoga Falls. This week, she got the job. This morning, she announced her resignation as Mayor of Stow, effective May 13 at midnight.

Here are my thoughts:

  • I don’t blame Mayor Kline one bit for seeking this opportunity. She will be working under Mayor Walters, with whom she works well. Sara will have a huge budget and a lot of great assets to manage. She would be term-limited as Mayor at the end of 2019. I am genuinely happy for her and her family. I called her to let her know that.
  • Sara and I had several epic battles on policy, many taking place via public arguments and many others being held behind closed doors. Notwithstanding, her and I have maintained a great deal of professional respect throughout the process. When people (even her detractors) ask me what I think of her, I consistently say, “You won’t find two people who disagree on policy as often as her and me, but … I have never questioned her passion for the city; I have always praised her ability to hire good people and manage them effectively; and we have usually been able to reach compromises for the city’s benefit.”
  • Where do we go from here. Council will choose an interim mayor, who will serve until the November 2018 election. At this point, it’s hard to handicap who will take over as Mayor on May 13. The council president is the most natural selection. Matt Riehl holds that spot. But he will need to decide if he can put aside his day job for 6 months. I assume this topic will be on council’s agenda during its meeting next Thursday. Then, in November 2018, there will be an election to determine who fills Sara’s remaining 12 months in office. Finally, in November 2019, there will be an election for a new 4-year term as mayor.
  • I’ll help clear the field by removing myself from consideration; my family, law practice, and Ohio House campaign do not provide enough time to do the job–even on an interim basis. The people of my hometown deserve better than my partial attention.
  • Ideally, we would like to avoid having 4 mayors within 20 months. But I want to impart my confidence that the City’s services will not be negatively impacted by these proceedings. You have a city council with several people capable of stepping into the mayor’s role. You have a chief of staff, police chief, fire chief, and several department heads who are really dedicated and really good at what they do. They will ensure that we maintain a high level of service.