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Lieske enters Bay mayor’s race

By Jeff Gallatin

BAY VILLAGE

Incumbent Ward 3 City Councilman Karen Lieske is making another attempt to win the mayor’s office.

Lieske, who along with several other candidates lost to incumbent Debbie Sutherland in the 2005 mayoral elections, told West Life she is challenging former council colleague Paul Koomar for the office in this year’s elections. Koomar, the former council president, was sworn in as mayor in January, succeeding Sutherland, who retired in late 2016.

In addition to currently finishing her third term on City Council, Lieske noted she has served on the Bay Village Board of Education from 1994-2005, is senior manager/assistant director for career services for Cleveland State University, was executive director for the Cincinnati Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, and has held other managerial and professional services.

“My experience in different professional areas makes me uniquely qualified to be the mayor of Bay Village,” she said. “My master’s degree is in public administration (from the University of Cincinnati), which is the degree city manager’s usually have.”

Lieske said she disagrees with Koomar on several issues.

“One major one is the hiring of the new service director,” she said. “I think he should have advertised the position and sought candidates from outside the city. The position was only advertised internally for less than a week and then they picked the finalists and interviewed them. We should have had a broader search and put more into it.”

While announcing his choice of John Liskovec, a 14-year employee of the city service department as service director, Koomar said he didn’t think he would get any outside candidates to apply with applicants aware that Koomar only had less than a year in office before the mayoral election.

Lieske maintains an attempt should have been made to seek outside candidates.

“We need to broaden our scope on that,” she said. “If we only got internal candidates after that, then at least we tried to get and consider people from the outside.”

Lieske said another big issue to her was the consideration of a rain date for the 2017 fireworks show for the annual Bay Days July 4 celebration.

“People around town have been telling me how important the fireworks are to them as part of the Bay Days,” she said. “People want to know that we’re making an effort to have some type of rain date so we can get the fireworks show in. Having the show is a big tradition.”

Lieske also said she was concerned Koomar said he didn’t see the need to have the playground equipment for the Play in Bay area inspected, with Lieske adding that the playground is used by Bay Village’s children.

Lieske also said she’d like to move forward on visually recording City Council meetings, along with the municipal boards and commissions.

Koomar said he welcomes the competition.

“I’m looking forward to discussing the issues and having a good race,” he said. “I think we’ve done a good job of getting things done since I took office and we’ll continue to work on getting things done which will aid the city. We’re excited to have the new Bay Village county library project moving forward. We’ve just about got the Master Plan update work done, which includes work like the library, working on a Town Center project, upgrading Cahoon Park and other things which will all be beneficial.”

 

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