By Jeff Gallatin
Two-term Ward 4 incumbent Larry Orlowski’s decision to retire and not seek any elected office means the North Olmsted will have no primary this year.
Orlowski, who was appointed to the office in 2005 when Dean McKay retired from the Ward 4 post, then won the position twice at the polls, had pulled petitions for both his council seat and the mayor’s race. When asked several times what his plans were, Orlowski declined comment, and indicated he would not make a decision until near the June filing deadline. However, Orlowski said this month he has some health issues that ultimately made him decide not to run for any position.
“After waiting and seeing how things developed, I decided it would be best if I didn’t seek any position this year,” he said. “As it turns out, I have some health issues I have to work on. I didn’t want to be missing a lot of time and hanging around for just part of the work, so I thought it would be best to not run.”
Orlowski has endorsed one of the two contenders to replace him, Steve Wolf, a local attorney and former longtime North Olmsted police officer. Wolf also sought appointment to the council president and councilman at large posts that went to Nicole Dailey Jones and Tim Smith when they came open earlier this year. The other candidate, Mary Ellen Hemann, is seeking her first elected office. She is a paralegal.
Jones, a former Ward 3 City Councilwoman, returned to North Olmsted city government this year when Duane Limpert retired as council president for family and financial reasons. She served more than two years as director of communications for Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald when the new county government was formed. Jones is opposed by Dennis Lambert, a retired U.S. Postal Service worker who served on Fairview Park City Council before moving to North Olmsted. Lambert has made several unsuccessful bids for North Olmsted and county council posts since then.
For the council at large post to which Smith, a longtime local businessman, was appointed when Mark Mahoney resigned for health reasons, there are three contenders. Smith, who also served on the latest charter review commission and ran unsuccessfully for mayor and sought appointment to council when Jones resigned her Ward 3 seat, is seeking election to the remaining two years of the term. He is opposed by two people. Duane Limpert, the son of the former City Council president, and grandson of longtime Councilman Dewey Limpert. He did seek the at-large post that went to Smith. The youngest Limpert served in the Army and has been in the banking industry the last few years. The other contender, Sid King, also unsuccessfully sought the at-large post. He has worked many years for FirstEnergy and headed the North Olmsted Republican Club.
In the other citywide races, Mayor Kevin Kennedy is seeking re-election as he finishes his first term in the office. Prior to that, he served as council president for more than five years.
Kennedy is opposed by Thomas O’Grady, who held the mayor’s post before Kennedy. O’Grady moved into the mayor’s post from the council presidency when Norman T. Musial resigned. O’Grady also has been a councilman at large. He won a full term as mayor in 2005, beating school board member Tom Herbster. O’Grady’s race with Kennedy is a rematch, since he unsuccessfully sought re-election in 2005, finishing third out four candidates behind Kennedy and school board President John Lasko.
In the other citywide races, Finance Director Carrie Copfer and Law Director Michael Gareau Jr. are unopposed on
In the other three ward races, Ward 1 incumbent Lou Brossard, the current chairman of the Streets and Transportation Committee, is faced by Curt Mieke. In Ward 2, incumbent Paul Barker, the senior member of council, is seeking his third full term in the office. Barker is currently the Finance Committee chairman. He had sought the post once before, then was appointed to it when John Dailey became a director in O’Grady’s administration. Barker is opposed by Bob Hickey.
In Ward 3, Paul Schumann, who was appointed to the post when Jones resigned to take the county director of communications position, is unopposed.
The other two council at large seats, currently held by Kevin Kearney and Angela Williamson, are not up for the ballot for two years.