Past and present officials and several familiar names are already on the list of candidates to replace Ward 3 Councilwoman Nicole Dailey Jones.
As of Monday morning, four people had filed for the position, which became vacant at the end of the day when Jones’ resignation to become director of communications for new County Executive Ed FitzGerald took effect.
Included in the quartet are former Councilman George Nashar, who held the seat for 16 years before Jones took office in 2006. Also on the list are Catherine Hayes, an attorney who served as a magistrate in Linndale: Greg Malone, a longtime city landscaper who has served on the North Olmsted Architectural Review Board and has spent the last several years on the Planning and Design Commission; and Jeff Peepers, who worked many years for United Airlines and is well known as a football referee and for his years of work on the North Olmsted Community Council.
Businessman Tim Smith, a member of the Charter Review Commission, who also ran for mayor in 2009 and sought an at-large council seat in 2010 when Michael Gareau Jr. became law director, has also verbally indicated he will seek the post.
Among the candidates, Nashar said the family issues which were a primary reason for him not seeking re-election in 2005 have abated.
“I’m ready to go and would like to serve again,” Nashar said. “I served with (Ward 2 councilman) Paul Barker and (Ward 4 councilman) Larry Orlowski before and believe I can work with the council,” he said.
Nashar said his focus would remain the same, maintaining strong community services for residents.
Hayes noted that she was appointed the first magistrate for Linndale by Jim Dubelko prior to his becoming law director in North Olmsted.
“I’ve lived in North Olmsted for more than 30 years and believe in community service,” she said. “I think I could do well for the community.”
Malone, whose landscaping expertise has been frequently utilized by the city on the panels he has served on, said he has enjoyed his work with those groups.
“I thought it was time to step up and do some more,” he said. “I believe I’m capable of doing the job and can aid the city.”
Peepers, who has been one of the people spearheading community council projects such as North Olmsted Homecoming in recent years, noted that he has learned about the city through such work.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people through the years and think I could help out by holding the position,” he said. “I also sought the at-large seat when it came open last year, so I’ve had an interest before.”
Smith, who has run Joe D’s printing for more than two decades, said he believes in aiding the city where you live.
“I’ll throw my hat in the ring and see what happens,” he said. “People know I’ll give it my best shot, like I do at whatever I’m working on.”
Another person considering running is Jennifer Ruggles, a former state economic development coordinator in former Gov. Ted Strickland’s administration. Ruggles, who starts work this month in government relations for Case-Western Reserve University, said she is considering seeking the seat.
“My prior experience could be an asset, and I believe we have a great city to live in,” she said.
Qualifications for the seat include living in the city for at least two years, being a registered voter and living in the ward for at least one year prior to the election. Candidates can mail their resume to Clerk of Council Marie S. Gallo, 5200 Dover Center Road, North Olmsted, OH 44070, or e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline for the resumes is 5 p.m. this Friday.
Barker said Council will review the candidates and said candidates should be prepared to seek the office when city elections come later this year.
“We want someone who we know will want to help the city for the long term,” he said. “We hope to have the council vote on it and the person seated by the end of February.”