By Sue Botos
Of the approximately 16 people who applied each time there was an open seat on City Council over the past two years and were not appointed, only Brian Sindelar has decided to face voters on the November ballot.
Sindelar, 36, who interviewed for the at large council positions after the death of Jim Scheida in 2011, and the job-related departures of Anjanette Arabian Whitman and her successor Fred DeGrandis in 2012, said during a recent interview that he was inspired to make a run for council by talking to his neighbors.
“I’ve been out there canvassing, and I heard the desire of the people to choose their councilmen rather than have them appointed,” said Sindelar, an attorney with Chester L. Sumpter and Associates in Lakewood.
Current Councilmen at Large Christopher Klym and Michael Harvey were selected to fill the two open seats and are seeking their first elected terms. Incumbent Dave Furry is looking for his fourth term as councilman at large.
The at large seat is the only one being challenged on the 2012 ballot. Unopposed are Tom Hunt, Ward 1 representative for seven years; Jim Moran, who has represented Ward 2 for eight years, six as council president; Mike O’Donnell, who is completing his first two-year term in Ward 3; and John Shepherd, Ward 4 councilman for six years.
Mayor Pam Bobst and law Director Andy Bemer also will not face a challenger in November.
Sindelar said he plans to bring “youth, energy and passion” to council, adding there was no other choice for him and his wife Tina when it came to a community in which to raise their family.
“It’s overwhelming how much I love this city,” stated Sindelar during a recent interview. “Rocky River was the only choice for us,” said the father of Carter, 7, Sophie, 6, and Graham, 3. The family has lived in the city for six years.
Sindelar received his undergraduate degree in business administration from John Carroll University, and his MBA in management and labor relations from Cleveland State University. He has a law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, with a concentration in management and labor relations.
He has been a member of the city Civil Service Commission for one year, and has coached youth sports for the recreation program and has been active in the Westshore Indian Guides and Indian Princesses.
Maintaining the city’s traditional high standards of service in the face of shrinking funds tops Sindelar’s list of priorities. He said that when it comes to issues such as privatizing of trash collection, the residents’ best interests must come first. “You have to be open to their ideas and make decisions on their behalf,” he stated. He said that while talking to homeowners, he found many wanted to keep the status quo with the backyard collection.
As for regionalization of such services as fire protection, Sindelar said that it’s important that all cities involved are treated fairly and that larger ones don’t drain all resources. “You really need to take a scalpel and dissect it,” he said of such plans. He said that especially with fire services, it is vital that cities maintain their own identities, and local fire chiefs remain in place. “You have to identify these issues before jumping in,” he said. “In a challenging economic environment, it’s easy to say regionalize and privatize,” he added.
“I’m looking to bring my passion and dedication to council. I’m not looking to rattle the system. I want to make changes through smart economic decisions while maintaining standards,” he said.
SIDEBAR: For more information on Brian Sindelar, visit his campaign website, www.briansindelar.com.