Kim Perez came out on top in the Democratic primary contest for treasurer. He defeated current at-large Councilwoman Mary Cirelli. Perez will face neither a Republican nor an independent in the general election.
The treasurer’s race was a showdown of political heavyweights in the Democratic primary.
Kim Perez and Mary Cirelli both boasted well recognized names. Each candidate also touts years of elected experience.
In the end, Perez got the nod by a comfortable margin over Cirelli, who is currently an at-large city councilwoman. Also in the race was former councilwoman Kelly Zachary.
Perez collected about 40 percent of the vote compared to roughly 30 percent for Zachary and around 25 percent for Cirelli, according to unofficial numbers.
Perez will not face a Republican or independent candidate for treasurer in the November election. Write-in candidates could get on the ballot. But the path is clear for his return to elected office.
Perez and the others were seeking the seat being vacated by Democratic Treasurer Robert Schirack. Treasurer since 1994, he is not seeking re-election to a four-year term.
The treasurer’s job is to oversee the city’s money, handle payroll checks and other disbursements of money, and invest funds not needed for daily operations.
Perez served on City Council from 1988 to 1994, and then as city auditor until 2004. He was Stark County auditor from 2004 to 20011, when he lost a bid for re-election against Republican Alan Harold.
Experience qualifies him for the treasurer’s post, Perez has said.
If elected, he said he’ll review the city’s current investment procedures to see if it can get a higher rate of return. Staffing and technology also will be reviewed to determine if the office can work more efficiently, he said prior to Tuesday’s election.
Cirelli, meanwhile, surrendered an opportunity to retain her at-large seat on council when she vied for treasurer.
A former county commissioner and state representative, she has served on council since 2006.