City Council will see two new members in 2012, as Ward 1 representative Patrick Manning and Ward 3 Councilman Fred Gauthier are not seeking re-election.
Gauthier, 74, cited health reasons for his decision. The 12-year council veteran missed several meetings in late 2010 and early 2011 after being hospitalized following a heart attack and pneumonia.
Manning said he is not running again because he will be getting married in the fall and moving to Avon Lake.
Both exiting members of council said they intended to strongly back Mayor Eileen Patton in her re-election bid against challenger Richard Deem.
“She’s done phenomenal work for the city,” Gauthier said, adding that the mayoral race will be critical for the city.
Manning credited Patton with remaking much of Lorain Road by demolishing dilapidated motels and bringing in new office buildings.
“She’s really responsible for the renaissance in Fairview – really the biggest renaissance the city has ever seen,” Manning told West Life.
Ed Gorbett, Brian McDonough and Nathan Studeny will vie for Manning’s Ward 1 seat in the Sept. 13 primary. Manning is not formally endorsing anyone now, he said.
Matthew Hout, Dan Jones and Paul Wojnar are seeking Gauthier’s Ward 3 seat. Gauthier has not issued a formal endorsement but said Jones is a neighbor and past political supporter. When Gauthier thought about not running again in a past election, he spoke with Jones about being a possible candidate.
An interesting race in the general election will be the Ward 2 contest between Bill Minek, the senior member of council, and Dennis Rehor, a current Fairview Board of Education member. Rehor, considered with Gauthier to be one of the originators of the Gemini Project plan, said he feels confident about leaving the school board because the district is in solid financial shape.
Rehor said he was influenced by the City Charter change lengthening council terms from two years to four years, starting with this election.
A resident of Fairview Park since 1995, Rehor said he never considered running for either the council president seat or the at-large seat. Asked about Minek’s seniority on council, Rehor noted he defeated incumbents when he ran for the school board in 2005.
“I’m running based on what I can bring to the seat,” he said.
Rehor said he was also motivated to run based on the challenging times for local municipalities due to funding changes in Columbus. Creative solutions are needed, he said, and he believes his experience in projects such as Gemini can be of service.
Minek told West Life he will continue to do what he has been doing for the city – protecting and serving.
“I’ll do my best like I’ve been doing for 25-plus years,” the former police officer said.
Council President Michael Kilbane, At-Large Councilwoman Peggy Cleary, Ward 4 Councilman John Hinkel and Ward 5 Councilman Pete Matia are running unopposed in their re-election bids.