By Kevin Kelley
Mike Killeen will seek re-election as president of Westlake City Council after all.
Killeen had considered bowing out after more than three decades on council when Ward 2 Councilman Jim Connole expressed interest in running for the leadership position. Connole had pulled petitions for the council president’s position, according to documents with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
“At some point I was thinking someone else should do it,” Killeen told West Life Saturday. According to Killeen, Connole said last week that he will not run for either the council presidency or re-election to his Ward 2 seat.
However, on Tuesday, Connole said he had not definitively made up his mind regarding his re-election plans.
“I’m still wrestling with the decision,” Connole told West Life.
According to Killeen, other members asked him to seek another term as council president once they understood Connole had bowed out.
“I like doing it,” Killeen said of the council president’s job. “It’s a lot more work than people realize.”
Killeen explained it was not a situation where Connole was challenging him for the council president’s job.
“Jim is certainly qualified to be council president,” Killeen said of Connole. “It’s not a contest between the two of us,” he said.
The deadline for candidates to file with the board of elections for the City Council seats, as well as those of mayor and law director, is March 8. If three or more candidates file for any position, a primary election will take place May 7.
Mayor Dennis Clough and Law Director John Wheeler have pulled petitions for re-election to their jobs. Except for Connole, all council incumbents have also filed petitions for re-election. Robert Koenig has pulled petitions to again challenge incumbent Mark Getsay for the Ward 6 seat. In 2009, Getsay defeated Koenig, 63 to 37 percent.
Brian Thompson and Westlake Board of Education member Nate Cross have pulled petitions to run for the Ward 2 seat, now held by Connole. Thompson and Cross both applied for the Ward 2 seat when Connole announced his intention to resign in late 2010. However, Connole reconsidered and decided to stay on council.
Killeen said an additional term as council president would allow him to work on two big projects – the move of American Greetings’ headquarters to Crocker Park and a switch of water suppliers from the Cleveland Division of Water to Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.
The 69-year-old certified public accountant had worked for 32 years at Arthur Anderson, where he was a partner. Later, he served two years as senior vice president at OfficeMax.
Killeen said it can be frustrating serving in government, where it often takes longer to get things done than in the private sector. However, he believes Westlake residents are mostly happy with their municipal government.
“People overall are relatively pleased with what’s going on in the city,” Killeen said.