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Lieske jabs at Koomar in Bay candidates forum

By JEFF GALLATIN

BAY VILLAGE – Challenger Karen Lieske jabbed Mayor Paul Koomar about taking three months to decide whether he wanted the job during during a candidates forum.

Lieske and Koomar, who are both seeking the mayor’s post, exchanged views about the job before about 100 people at the Cuyahoga County League of Women Voters candidates forum at Bay High School on Oct. 4.

Ward 3 Councilwoman Lieski poked Koomar about hesitating to take the mayor’s seat  after Mayor Deborah Sutherland unexpectedly resigned last September.  As Council President, Koomar was in line of succession under the charter to take the job.

But Koomar, a CPA, has said he wanted to consider the matter with his family and that he was wrapping some consulting jobs he had already started. He was sworn in Jan. 1 this year. He is finishing the last year on Sutherland’s term.

The mayor’s annual salary is $86,120, with an additional $5,000 annually when the mayor serves as safety director, which Koomar does. Starting next year, the salary jumps to a base of $90,000, with up to an additional $8,000, depending on years of experience in municipal government.

While pointing out qualifications, Koomar, 56, cited his 16 years on city council, including six as president. He also cited his work at financial and management positions at The Cleveland Clinic.

Lieske, 67, said her master’s in public administration is the degree that most city manager’s have. She also noted her work at Cleveland State University, where she is the assistant director for career services. She is in her sixth year as ward councilwoman and also served 12 years on the Bay Village City School Board from from 1994-2005. She ran for mayor in 2005, when Sutherland defeated her and three other opponents.

Koomar said continuing to address the city infrastructure needs would remain a top priority with him as well following the recently updated Bay Village master plan.

Lieske said she  voted against accepting the master plan update earlier this year because one recommendation takes away the right of voters to decide rezoning issues, which she opposes. She said she didn’t want future city officials believing that’s what the current city officials wanted in approving the plan.

Koomar said the new master plan is a good document overall and reiterated that it only makes recommendations, and that taking the zoning vote away from citizens is only a recommendation. He said he does not support taking the vote from residents nor does he foresee it ever happening in the city.

Lieske said she was proud of getting legislation done on city council which gives clearer rules on attached housing within the city. She also wants to create a task force of community leaders to better government within the city.

Koomar said he was proud of getting several needed crossings on Lake Road when he was on city council. He said he would continue work to maintain or add partnerships with other cities which benefit the city while still maintaining strong independent city services.

Other candidates who spoke at the forum included City Council candidates. They included: Council-at-large, Bill Selong and Nancy Stainbrook; Ward 1 Tom Kelly and Dave Tadych: Ward 2, Dave Barker and Lydia DeGeorge; Ward 3, Sara Byrnes Maier and Cheryll McCarty.

 

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