Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 08:54
Bowling Green City Council's Democratic majority took the predictable route Monday night, naming a Democrat to fill the Fourth Ward vacancy created by the recent resignation of Republican Greg Robinette.
|Rob Piasecki speaks to Bowling Green City Council members during a business meeting at the city municipal building. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Council voted 5-1 to appoint Rob Piasecki to serve the remainder of the term, which ends Dec. 31. Republican Bob McOmber cast the dissenting vote.
Piasecki, the Democratic nominee for the post in the November election, was one of six Fourth Ward residents to present themselves for consideration. Two other residents who had expressed an interest in the post did not attend the meeting.
Also making three-minute presentations to council were Republican nominee Theresa Charters Gavarone, former council members Roger Anderson and William Herald, and Paul Collings and Jaci Nowicki. Bill Blair and Brent Stewart did not attend. Each of the six also fielded a variety of questions from council members following their statements.
Piasecki will take the oath of office before the July 15 meeting.
Preceding the vote McOmber said he hoped the Democratic majority would not favor one candidate on the November ballot over the other but would in fact follow Robinette's recommendation in his resignation letter to choose someone not on the ballot. "The voters can decide that in November." McOmber said naming Piasecki would be "blatant partisan politics and effectively give one candidate a leg up. To take advantage of someone's patriotic services would be unfortunate."
Robinette resigned because the Ohio Army National Guard unit he commands was called up for active duty in Kuwait a few months ago.
McOmber called Anderson "a fine candidate" and added "I would be willing to vote for someone not in my party." Anderson is a Democrat and a retired professor of political science at Bowling Green State University.
Democrat Bruce Jeffers said he did "not appreciate" McOmber's comment and recalled that council's appointment of candidate Jacob Redfern to fill a First Ward vacancy a few years ago did not translate to a victory for him in the November election. Redfern replaced Democrat Gordy Heminger.
Candidate names were pulled from a hat to determine the speaking order.
Anderson said he offered experience and knowledge and would be fair and impartial. "I served two terms in the late 1970s. I'm retired and I do not plan to run for office in the future." He noted that as a member of the observer corps of the League of Women Voters of Bowling Green he has been a regular attendee at council meetings. "I am well aware of the issues."
Herald said he had no "learning curve" because of his council experience and regular attendance at meetings the past seven years. Herald said he would work hard and in an analytic fashion to address challenges, assist citizens in working with government and "be a calm, moderate and logical voice as part of the council team." If council determined that a Democrat was needed to fill the spot, Herald endorsed Anderson.
The only question to Anderson and Herald concerned their availability to attend the remaining 11 council meetings of the term.
Piasecki said he moved to Bowling Green as a youngster in 1982 and chose to remain in the city. He noted several volunteer efforts and added "I want to use my knowledge and serve the city in a new capacity. I love this city and the Fourth Ward."
Council President John Zanfardino and First Ward Council rep Daniel Gordon both asked Piasecki about his knowledge of recent Community Improvement Committee activities regarding concerns of east side residents. Piasecki said he had attended some of the sessions and understood the concerns of the residents.
Gavarone said she has been a BG resident 28 years, is a business partner (Mr. Spots) with her husband (Jim), an attorney and mother of three children. "I am invested in and believe in Bowling Green. Bowling Green has a great deal of potential and a real opportunity for growth." At-Large Council rep Sandy Rowland asked if she co-owned Howard's Club H with her husband. Gavarone said that was her husband's business. She added that she has been involved with Downtown BG and downtown issues.
Nowicki said she came to the city as a Bowling Green State University student and has been a resident 42 years. She, who has a long-time interest in government, is a former member of the city's Bicycle Safety Commission and has been a frequent attendee of council meetings. Nowicki said she had no political ambitions and would provide some diversity to a council that now has only one female member. She works as a teaching nurse. "I am a thoughtful citizen, a careful voter and I really love this town. We have raised our children here and I would love to do this."
Collings said he has been a resident 17 years after a career as an officer in the U.S. Army. He said his military experience and work since "make me well-qualified to help make decisions that will help make Bowling Green a world-class city." He mentioned the Black Swamp Arts Festival, parks and the new pool as the things he believes are important for the city.