By Jeff Gallatin
A candidates night for the quartet of contenders seeking the Bay Village mayor’s office in the first municipal primary since voters approved primaries in 2007 has been set for Aug. 13.
Officials said last week the Bay Village Chapter of the League of Women Voters-Cuyahoga Area have set the candidates night for 7 p.m. in the Bay Middle School cafeteria. In a press release, league officials said the four candidates in the nonpartisan election for mayor will each give short opening and closing remarks. In addition, a league moderator will pose audience questions that have been screened for duplication, clarity, relevance and appropriateness.
League officials noted that this is the first primary election in Bay Village since voters overwhelmingly approved in 2007 a charter amendment to have primaries. Although there are several contested City Council races, none has enough candidates for a primary. There also were not enough candidates in any race to need a primary in the 2009 or 2011 municipal government elections. The top two candidates in the September primary this year will advance to the general election.
In the 2013 election, incumbent Debbie Sutherland is seeking re-election to the post she has held since 2000, when she was appointed to move from City Council into the mayor’s office when David Jelepis resigned to become director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. Her challengers include Claire Banasiak, a substitute teacher in the Bay Village and North Ridgeville school systems; Martin Mace, a former Bay Village firefighter who was one of the leaders of a citizens and safety workers group that challenged Sutherland’s administration; and David A. Volle, a former Bay Village police officer and building inspector.
When contacted Friday, three of the four candidates said they were looking forward to the event.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to present my views in this forum and for citizens to get the opportunity to see and hear the different candidates and their views,” Sutherland said.
The mayor said she is comfortable with the format set up by the league.
“I have every confidence that (league official) Mary Lou Jones and the league have set up a format that will be informative and fair,” Sutherland said.
Mace said he’s glad to have the opportunity to present his views.
“I’m glad to have the opportunity to participate in an event like this,” Mace said. “It will be good for the voters to see all of us in one location.”
Even though this is his first try for elected office, Mace said he’s comfortable with the format.
“I’ve spoken before groups before and dealt with the public for many years in different ways,” he said. “I’ve been working on bringing myself up to speed on all the issues and letting people know who I am.”
Volle, who is also a first-time candidate, said he’s looking forward to the event.
“I’ll be busy preparing for the event,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for us and the public.”
Banasiak could not be reached for comment in time for this story.