By Jeff Gallatin
Both incumbent Mayor Debbie Sutherland and former city firefighter Marty Mace said they’re preparing for the challenge of the general election after the two of them came out of the four-person primary field Sept. 10.
Unofficial final results from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections showed Sutherland leading the field with 1,301 votes, or 45.5 percent of the tallies; Mace with 940, or about 32.9 percent; former city police officer and building inspector Dave Volle with 549 votes, or 19.1 percent; and substitute teacher Claire Banasiak with 71 votes.
It was the first primary in Bay Village since city voters changed the charter several years ago to allow for primaries if there are more than two candidates for a municipal office.
Sutherland, who since being appointed mayor in 2000 to replace Tom Jelepis has become the longest-serving mayor in Bay Village history, said she appreciates the support she received.
“Getting those kind of numbers in a four-person contest is tough, so I appreciate the people who came out and voted,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the general election and getting together with voters in the next couple of months.”
Sutherland said her administration’s track record and ability to work with citizens, council members, other governmental entities and the private sector are a strong reason why she continues to draw support.
“We’ve had to be pretty innovative and creative the last few years in dealing with tough economic times,” she said. “Bay Village is a wonderful place to live in, and we’ve all had to work together to keep it that way and maintain services and a strong community.”
Sutherland also cautioned her backers and said Mace showed he can draw some support.
“We have a great team and strong supporters and we are going to have to continue to work hard and get people out to vote. He has some strong union backing,” she said. “He got support from the fire department union and many members of the fire department.”
For his part, Mace, who was one of the leaders of a citizen and firefighters group that opposed cuts in shift staffing levels several years ago when Sutherland’s administration cut them to cope with the tight municipal budgets, said he thought the voter turnout was strong.
“People had a strong message that they want some change in the city leadership,” he said.
Mace said he believed he had some name recognition because of his activities with the group several years ago, adding it worked well with voters wanting change.
“A majority of the voters showed they want a fresh start and some change in how things are done,” he said, adding that he believes he can pick up the votes cast for the other two candidates who challenged Sutherland, saying they have talked with each other about the election.
“We’ve talked and we understand each other,” he said. “We’re going to continue to work hard, and we’re looking forward to November.”