Rossford at odds over seat on council
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 03 December 2013 11:13
ROSSFORD - The City Council's organizational meeting turned contentious over the issue of who will fill a vacancy caused by the sudden death of a newly re-elected councilman.
Chuck Duricek died Thursday while on a family trip to Chicago.
After his own re-election as council president, Larry Oberdorf recommended that council fill the vacancy by soliciting applications and then interviewing those candidates. This was done to fill the most recent vacancies. The other option was to appoint the next-highest candidate in the six-way race for four seats. That would be Robert Densic.
Oberdorf said there was no precedent for appointing the next-highest vote-getter to a vacancy. The most recent vacancies were filed by the application and review process.
If council does not act within 30 days, it would be up to Mayor Neil MacKinnon to appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
Two councilmen, Greg Marquette and Dan Wagner, one of the candidates who outpolled Densic, spoke in favor of appointing Densic, since he had campaigned for the job.
Others who wanted to serve on council should have run for the seat, Wagner said. Wagner said "I don't agree with his politics" but that he was "next in line."
Caroline Eckel, who was originally appointed to fill a vacancy after William Verbosky was elected mayor, said she was willing to wait until next Monday's meeting to make a decision.
Whoever is appointed will serve two years until the next municipal election.
But Robert Ruse said that the 30-day clock was clicking. Council voted 4-2 to seek applicants, with Eckel hesitating before voting yes and Marquette and Wagner dissenting.
After the vote was taken, Oberdorf said he would resign as council president. "I see council as very fragmented. Someone else can have this position."
After the meeting, Duricek's widow Pam Duricek said she had attended to speak in favor of Densic being appointed, but there was no opportunity for the public to speak at the meeting.
She said Densic is "a smart and talented person who does his research."
"He had a passion for it like Chuck did."
Densic, who attended the meeting, said he was undecided whether to apply to fill the vacancy.
A majority of council has experience with filling a vacancy. Marquette noted he'd been originally appointed to council, and both Ruse and Staczek had applied unsuccessfully to fill a vacancy on council when Jim Richards resigned. MacKinnon was appointed to fill that vacancy. Duricek, who had already served previously on council, was appointed to council in 2009 following the sudden death of Richard Kovach. He was elected to a full term later that year.
Wagner noted in other instances years had passed since last election. In this case, the election had just been held.
Oberdorf described his relationship with Duricek, who was a day shy of 60 when he died, as "adversarial friends at times."
The two were at odds most recently over issues involving the city's continued membership in TARTA and pay increases for members of council.
Still, Oberdorf recalled their relationship dating back 40 years when they played Trivial Pursuit together.
Oberdorf said he respected Duricek's "thorough researching of all council issues."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 12:52