By Nicole Hennessy
In November Westlake Law Director John Wheeler will seek re-election. Running unopposed, he will likely secure his position for another four years.
The law director position is one that is established by Westlake’s city charter. In 2004, a group of residents started a petition calling for the position to be an elected one. After it was passed into law by voters, Wheeler was first elected for a term beginning in 2005 and re-elected in 2009, when he was again unopposed.
Previously, Wheeler worked as the city prosecutor.
“The sense of the community back in 2004, when those folks put the law director position on the ballot to make it elected, was that the law directors in the past really hadn’t been independent,” he explained, pointing out that law directors are supposed to represent specifically the city, not the mayor or the council.
“What I’ve endeavored to do,” he continued, “is to treat the city of Westlake as my client and to give independent, intellectually honest legal advice.”
Assuming he is re-elected for a third term, Wheeler looks forward to working further with American Greetings, which is in the process of moving its headquarters to Crocker Park. Though the project isn’t following its original timeline, the city remains optimistic that the deal will go through, bringing the equivalent of 1,750 full-time positions with it.
Wheeler not only sees Westlake as one of the nicer suburbs in the county, he sees it as the premier suburb on the West Side, and it’s important for him to help uphold that perception.
Part of the reason for Westlake’s good reputation is that “it’s well-managed,” he said. “I’ve tried to cut costs in my department and be proactive when it comes to watching taxpayer dollars.”