WEST LIFE, April 10, 2013

W E S T L A K E M AY 7 P R I M A R Y E L E C T I O N G U I D E

Crowded field seeks Connole’s Ward 2 council seat

Open city council and school board seats tend to attract candidates. Such is the case with the Ward 2 seat in Westlake, for which incumbent Jim Connole has decided not to seek re-election. Five residents are running in the May 7 nonpartisan primary, with the top two moving on to the November general election. Connole is not making an endorsement in the primary race. The candidate with the best name recognition is Nate Cross, who was elected to the Westlake City Schools Board of Education in November 2009. He is the only Ward 2 candidate who has run for elected office. Cross has the endorsement of not only the Cuyahoga County Republican Party but also Mayor Dennis Clough and state Rep. Nan Baker. But Cross said the council representative’s duty is to provide service to the community in a nonpartisan way. “Thus, if elected, I’m there to serve all residents of Ward 2 – regardless of political affiliation,” Cross told West Life.

His campaign literature states he’s for “fiscal responsibility” but does not go into specifics about his tenure on the school board, where he opposed the scope of the new building project and was critical of the district’s labor costs. The May 7 ballot includes a school district operating levy. Cross voted to place the levy on the ballot but told West Life

he won’t say how he will vote on it. Will supporters of the teachers union and school building project hold his earlier positions against him, or will they be happy to see him move to City Council? Another with good name recognition is Steve Presley, a member of the city’s civil service commission since 2007. Now the city administrator and finance director for Pepper Pike, Presley was the finance director of Bay Village from 1993 to 2012. Although this is Presley’s first run for elected office, he said he’s the most experienced in municipal operations. It’s his job, he said, to explain how his experience will be beneficial to Ward 2 residents. Presley also stressed his ability to work well with different types of personalities. A nurse who previously worked as an attorney, Marie Novak is the only female candidate among the five Ward 2 candidates. (City Council currently consists of all men. Another woman, Lynda Appel, will challenge Shamus Cusick for the Ward 1 seat in November.) “I am invested in this community, the schools and the people who live here,” said Novak, the mother of two boys. “I look forward to the opportunity to become

a new voice for continued success as a member of the City Council from Ward 2.” Novak said she wants to maintain a balanced approach among residential, commercial and industrial interests in the city. Nick Nunnari, the assistant service manager at John Lance Ford, said he hopes he’ll get votes from the many people he knows from living and working in Westlake for more than 40 years. Describing himself as a “worker bee,” Nunnari said he has been active at St. Bernadette Catholic Church and in the PTA. Nunnari, who has the endorsement of Westlake school board Vice President Carol Winter, said he has no hidden agenda for future elected office and simply wants to serve the residents of Ward 2. Brian Thompson, who has been attending council meetings regularly over the past two years, said he is emphasizing his professional experience as an attorney, certified public accountant and lay minister with voters. “I’m getting a good response as I go door to door,” he said of his campaign. Among the thoughts expressed by residents, he said, are concerns about flooding and substandard property maintenance.

Nate Cross
• executive director, Northern Ohio Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation • Republican • Westlake resident for 10 years • elected member, Westlake City Schools Board of Education; past member, Westlake Planning Commission; co-chair, Crocker Park Civic Development Commission; founder and member of Westlake World Partners; active at St. Bernadette Parish • no campaign website

West Life asked the five candidates running for the Ward 5 seat the following questions: 1. Why are you running? 2. Mayor Dennis Clough and City Council have actively pursued a switch of water suppliers from Cleveland’s Division of Water to Avon Lake Municipal Utilities. Do you support such a switch? 3. City Council passed a law discouraging the city from hiring “double dippers,” retired public officials receiving a public pension but work another government job. Mayor Clough has said the law impedes his right by City Charter to hire municipal employees. Where do you stand on the hiring of “double dippers”?
Why are you running? In my view, democracy is not a spectator sport. As such, I believe it is important to get involved in the community – and am energized by the opportunity to further serve the public, which has been something I have done my entire life, in both the public sector and nonprofit arena. Service to the community also allows me to provide an example to my children, through deeds – the important lesson of giving back to the community. Do you support such a switch of Westlake’s water suppliers? Yes, I support this effort – as I support any/all efforts to save taxpayer dollars so long as demonstrated savings can be achieved; and services are delivered at equal to or at a greater value than the previous service. Where do you stand on the hiring of “double dippers” by the city of Westlake? I support any effort to save taxpayer dollars so long as demonstrated savings can be achieved. While perceived as controversial, this can actually be an additional “tool” the chief executive (whether it’s the mayor or superintendent of a school Do you support such a switch of Westlake’s water suppliers? If switching suppliers would maintain quality and not jeopardize health and safety I would consider the switch, especially if it would be a financial benefit to the community allowing a monetary savings that could be used to increase other services to residents of Westlake. district) can and should be able to use that may ultimately benefit the taxpayer. However, there are a few limited circumstances whereby I would support this, as the new hire would have to meet the following minimum criteria: They must be qualified for the position; they should be hired on a temporary basis; an established “end-date” for the temporary hire must be agreed upon (no longer than 18-24 months); the potential hire is not eligible to be the permanent replacement and/or candidate for the position in which they are temporarily hired to perform; and most importantly, the net cost must be less than a full-time permanent hire. Where do you stand on the hiring of “double dippers” by the city of Westlake? I support City Council’s law discouraging “double dipping.” I do not feel it impedes the mayor, rather it creates opportunity to explore the talents of many other qualified candidates for municipal employment. Further, “double dipping” causes unneeded financial strain to the pension system.

Marie Novak
• Registered nurse at St. John Medical Center; previously worked as an attorney • Democrat • Westlake resident for 2 ½ years • First run for elected office; active in Westlake PTA and Westlake Women’s Club • www.votemarienovak.blogspot.com; www.facebook.com/votemarienovak

Why are you running? I believe being a wife and mother of two young boys living and working in Westlake I will provide a different perspective not currently provided by current members of the City Council or other candidates in the Ward 2 race.

Nick C. Nunnari
• Assistant service manager, John Lance Ford • Republican • Westlake resident for more than 40 years • First run for elected office; has helped with campaigns in the past • nunnari4westlake@gmail.com

Why are you running? I was born and raised in this ward and want to give back to the community I adore. I have helped out with PTA. I have been a PSR teacher at St. Bernadette’s for years and worked with the confirmation program and done food drives and helped with food banks, etc. … Now the kids are older and the wife has approved “my dream” of working to help keep our city the best city in the area. I will exercise “my working bee mentality” to fulfill my goal of serving the needs of the citizens of Ward 2 and the community of Westlake.

Do you support such a switch of Westlake’s water suppliers? I am completely in favor of switching water suppliers, for years the city of Cleveland has failed to serve the citizens of Westlake.

Where do you stand on the hiring of “double dippers” by the city of Westlake? In the past I have agreed that “double dipping” should be discouraged, however I can see how it limits hiring of more experienced older candidates that could bring us a lot of fresh ideas and good work ethic and leadership to the table.

WEST LIFE, April 10, 2013


W E S T L A K E M AY 7 P R I M A R Y E L E C T I O N G U I D E

Porter seeks renewal of levy

Supporters: Levy needed to maintain school quality

Westlake Porter Public Library Director Andrew Mangels said passage of Issue 15 is required for the library to essentially stay in business. The 2.8-mill operating levy, for which Porter is seeking a five-year renewal, provides about three-fourths of the library's annual $4.7 million budget. The current levy expires at the end of this year. Mangels said 2012 provided plenty of examples of how the library serves the community and it deserves the continued support of Westlake residents. Services introduced last year included: • participation in the SearchOhio and OhioLink consortium interlibrary loan programs, through which Porter patrons can borrow books from across the state; • free digital subscriptions to as many as 79 magazines; • the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, to encourage early reading; and • a partnership with Connecting for

Kids, a Westlake-based nonprofit that provides support for families concerned about their children’s development. Porter also kept its doors open an hour longer on weekends, from 5 to 6 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays beginning Aug. 10. Throughout 2013, Porter will be open on Sundays, even in the summer, Mangels said. The library has expanded services by reallocating resources, Mangels said. And Porter has a long-term plan to fund future capital improvements, such as roof repairs, he added. Porter officials also point to the meeting rooms provided at no cost to numerous community groups. If the renewal is approved by voters, the owner of a house valued at $100,000 would pay $85.75 annually. The tax is expected to raise $3.82 million annually. Members of Porter's board of trustees will be in the library lobby from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday to answer questions about the levy. For more information, visit westlakeporterlevy.com.

The slogan of Issue 16 supporters is “Real need, proven value.” The 5.9-mill operating levy for the Westlake City Schools will cost homeowners an additional $15 per month for every $100,000 of property value beginning next year. The levy would raise about $8 million annually, Treasurer Mark Pepera said. The district’s financial forecast sees deficits appearing before the end of the 2014-2015 school year unless a new operating levy is passed or cuts are made. Superintendent Dan Keenan said the district will need to make cuts if the levy is not passed. Keenan and Cathy Axcell, the Issue 16 co-chairwoman, point to cuts made by the district two years ago when state funding declined due to a phaseout of the public utility and tangible personal property reimbursement. Those cuts included the elimination of busing for high school students. Passage of this

levy will not restore any of the cuts, Keenan said. “The key word is maintain,” he said of the levy's goals. Issue 16 backers argue the new levy is needed to maintain the quality of public school education Westlake residents have come to expect. At a March 26 public program on the levy at Westlake Porter Public Library, Keenan said the most common question he's asked is what teachers have done to help the district be financially responsible. He points to the recently approved 18-month teacher contract that includes a 2.5-percent decrease in base salaries during the contract’s final 12 months and a 50 percent increase in health care contributions (from 10 percent to 15 percent). Keenan added that the Westlake district must stay competitive with nearby districts and the salaries and benefits paid to their teachers. Keenan and Axcell will present a second session on the levy at 7 p.m. Thursday at Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road. Information on Issue 16 can be found at westlakelevy.com.

Steve Presley
• City administrator and finance director, city of Pepper Pike • Republican • Westlake resident for 35 years • Currently: fiscal officer, Westshore Council of Governments; RITA board of directors; Westlake Civil Service Commission. Past: Finance director, Bay Village; assistant finance director, Lakewood; Westlake Charter Review Commission member. • Citizens4Presley.com

Why are you running? There are several reasons; foremost I chose to run because I care about Westlake; about the resident and the direction the city that I’ve resided in for over 35 years. I want to ensure that it remains a place where my children will want to raise their families. Second is to represent the residents in Ward 2 in a professional, responsive manner that will reflect positively on them and the city. Lastly is to utilize the financial knowledge and experience of municipal government operations that I have obtained over the past 24 years to benefit not only Ward 2 but all residents of Westlake in future decisions made by council.

Do you support such a switch of Westlake’s water suppliers? At this point I don’t believe there is sufficient information to answer that question. However I do agree with the actions of the mayor and council to investigate the change of suppliers. Additionally I believe Westlake needs to work with the city of Bay Village on this since there are so many water lines that currently service both cities that otherwise would require expensive termination. The water main on Lake Road would offer great redundancy without additional cost. For these reasons Bay Village should be included in these discussions. I fully support additional research on this subject. Do you support such a switch of Westlake’s water suppliers? Since initiation of this pursuit, Cleveland’s Division of Water has improved service, particularly in the crucial matter of maintaining water hydrants in good working order. If improvement continues, and the notorious billing and administrative practices are addressed, there will be no need to expend funds for a switch.

Where do you stand on the hiring of “double dippers” by the city of Westlake? I do not believe that someone who retires from a government employer should be rehired by the same government employer in the identical position. However, there should be allowable exceptions or conditions, such as a savings to the employer from a reduction in salary, benefits or both. However if the city has advertised an open position, the most qualified candidate should be offered the position even if it results in “double dipping,” as long as the previously mentioned conditions are met.

Brian Thompson
• attorney, certified public accountant, lay minister • declined to give political party • Westlake resident for 28 years • Experience in Citizens League committee work • no campaign website; askbriant@gmail.com

Why are you running? I would like to give back to the community by using my expertise in law and finance as an attorney at law and certified public accountant. I have been blessed with many opportunities throughout my life as more fully explained in my full page ad published in WestLife on 3/27.

Where do you stand on the hiring of “double dippers” by the city of Westlake? City Council creates policies, and the mayor carries out the policies. I agree that “double dipping” should be discouraged. City Council has allowed for exceptions to “double dipping” to be made. City Council needs to establish detailed guidelines for granting exceptions. The mayor should make individual hiring decisions within those guidelines.

Porter celebrates National Library Week
Next week is the American Library Association's National Library Week, and Westlake Porter Public Library has prepared a slew of activities. The theme this year is “Communities matter @ your library.” Highlights include a showing at 7 p.m. Monday of “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” starring Jennifer Garner, and a talk Tuesday night at 7 by Dan Ruminski, author of “Cleveland in the Gilded Age: A Stroll Down Millionaire's Row,” which covers the mansions that used to be on Euclid Avenue. Mike Connell, a pharmacist at Nature’s Pharmacy and Compounding Center in Fairview Park, presents a program on medicinal compounding at 7 p.m. April 18. Family rock band Scribblemonster returns at 7 p.m. April 19 for an evening of song for the whole family. Free tickets will be available April 12. The afternoon of April 20 brings the fourth annual Star Wars Family Fun Fair. Registration is required for many events. See page B9 for more Porter library listings, or visit westlakelibrary.org.

3x5.5 Weslake Montessori 3x3 Emily’s Rainbow

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