By Jeff Gallatin
City voters will have a quartet of mayoral candidates to choose from next Tuesday in the first primary election since citizens approved having them several years ago.
Incumbent Mayor Debbie Sutherland is seeking re-election to the post she has held since 2000. She is faced by substitute teacher Claire Banasiak, former Bay Village firefighter Marty Mace and former city police officer and building inspector David Volle.
Sutherland, who is the longest-serving mayor in Bay Village history, has been campaigning with an emphasis on her experience and knowledge on dealing with governmental issues and ability to work with other governmental agencies and private-sector groups. She’s cited her administration and City Council putting together balanced budgets and maintaining city services in the face of the economic effects of the Great Recession and large cuts in state funding the last few years.
All three challengers have said the city needs a change in the mayor’s office.
Banasiak, who in addition to working as a teacher has said she has a law degree, has said city government should be more transparent and accessible to the public. She has questioned why City Council passes much of its legislation on an emergency basis, instead of giving it three full readings. She also has said she would like the city to utilize resources available through Cuyahoga County to save money.
Mace, a retired city firefighter, also was one one the leaders of the citizens and firefighters group that challenged the city several years ago when Sutherland’s administration reduced shift staffing levels while trying to deal with the tight economy. Mace has said he has gotten feedback from citizens that they would like changes in how the city government operates, with tighter controls on spending. He has questioned city purchases of some equipment, saying the money would be better spent in other areas during the economic downturn.
Volle was a city police officer and was a building inspector until the city’s transition earlier this year to having a private firm handle building department work within Bay Village. He has said he would only be responsible to the public and recently questioned the format of a mayoral luncheon and forum at the Bradley Bay Health Care Center, saying he felt the facility owner John O’Neill, was favoring Sutherland – with O’Neill saying the facility has had several forums in previous elections with no questions about their fairness.
The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November.