A primary field of four candidates for Green mayor was cut in half and it appears incumbent Gerard Neugebauer will face Ward 4 Councilman Matt Shaugnessy in the November General Election.
According to unoffical tallies from the Summit County Board of Elections, Neugebauer received 1,869 votes (48.6 percent) while Shaugnessy received 1,145 (29.8 percent) during Tuesday's Primary Election.
Green Local Board of Education member Mark Herdlick received 722 votes (18.8 percent). Kristy Doering finished with 108 votes (2.8 percent).
The General Election race pits Green officials who have butted political heads on certain issues, most notably on how a February 2018 settlement with NEXUS was negotiated that saw the city drop its lawsuit attempting to block the company from building a natural gas pipeline through the southern portion of town. As part of the deal, the city received $7.5 million from NEXUS.
Shaugnessy, in a March 2018 Letter to the Editor to The Suburbanite, said he believed he was "lied to" about the timing of the settlement. Shaugnessy claimed that details of the settlement were not provided to City Council until the day it was ultimatey approved by a 4-3 vote. Shaugnessy was one of the council members who voted against accepting the settlement, stating that he believed the city was in a better position to negotiate with NEXUS than council was led to believe.
Shaugnessy recently told The Suburbanite that the reason he is running is to "restore the community values the residents of Green have long enjoyed. I want to bring transparency back to Green."
Neuegebauer, however, has claimed the NEXUS deal was the best one the city could have negotiated, citing the $7.5 million being significantly higher than other cities received. Neighboring New Franklin, for example, received $75,000 from NEXUS. The city of Oberlin, which was the last to hold out, accepted a $100,000 deal from NEXUS.
Neugebauer told the Suburbanite that if he is re-elected, he will "provide strong leadership as a proven mayor; to apply my broad knowledge and extensive experiences in engineering, finance, and city government to lead our city in a cost-effective, professional manner."
Green law director
Two highly decorated attorneys will square off to become the city's first elected law director.
Lisa Dean, a private practice trial attorney who also served in the appellate division of the Summit County and the Portage County Prosecutor’s Offices as well as the Summit County Domestic Relations Court, unofficially received 1,310 votes (40.3 percent).
Dean will face Stephen J. Pruneski, who has served more than 16 years as part-time Green law director under mayors Dan Croghan, Dick Norton and Neugebauer and has also worked as Special Counsel to the Ohio Attorney General Office. Pruneski received 834 votes (25.6 percent).
Six candidates were vying for the position with Robert Duffin receiving an unoffical 490 votes (15 percent), John Greven receiving 232 (7.1 percent), Daniel M. Walpole receiving 203 (6.2 percent) and Rhonda Kotnik receiving 185 (5.7 percent).
The position of law director had previously been one that had been appointed by the mayor. However, Citizens for Responsible Green Government, a Political Action Committee, was successful in collecting enough signatures to amend city charter and making the law director a elected position, with the candidate being a city resident, on the November 2018 ballot.
That measure initially was defeated by 27 votes after the unofficial count on election night. However, due to the closeness of the vote, it triggered an automatic recount. Following the recount, the tally was reversed and it was deterimined the issue passed by 26 votes and the results were made official Dec. 5.
Diane Calta, the city's last permanent law director, left in April 2018 to become the law director for the city of Beachwood in Cuyahoga County. Neugebauer then appointed William Chris on an interim basis. However, Chris is not a Green resident and was ineligible to run.
Green City Council at-large
Incumbents Stephen Dyer and Justin Speight were the top two unofficial vote getters in a primary that saw eight candidates trimmed to six in a race for three at-large council positions in November.
Dyer received 1,524 votes (18.3 percent) while Speight was just behind at 1,510 (18.1 percent). Clark Anthony DeVitis received 1,388 votes (16.7 percent), David France received 1,283 votes (15.4 percent), Richard Brandenburg received 939 votes (11.3 percent) and Justin Leonti received 909 (10.9 percent) to round out the field.
James Carr (473 votes, 5.7 percent) and Desmond Wertheimer (302 votes, 3.6 percent) were defeated.
Springfield Police levy
Springfield Township residents appear to have approved an additional tax of 1.25 mills for the township Police Department, with 915 voting for it (66.4 percent) an 464 against it.
Springfield Police Chief Dave Hoover said he’d be able to add to the force and purchase dependable vehicles. It would add about $344,000 to the township’s coffers and cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $3.65 per month.
- Hartville income tax: For the second time since November, Hartville residents have apparently shot down attempts to increase the village’s income tax rate 0.5 percent to 2.0 percent with 440 people unoffically voting against it and 361 for it. The increased revenue would have be used for operations, capital improvements and expansion of municipal services.
- Lake Township park levy: Township residents overwhelmingly voted against a 10-year, 2-mill levy to build and maintain a new Midway Community Park. Unofficial vote counts showed 4,445 voters against the levy and 1,884 for it, a difference of 2,561 votes.
- Lakemore gas aggregation: Residents approved a measure that will allow officials to enter into an opt-out gas aggregation program that could lead to savings in prices. Under the program, residents will automatically be enrolled but have the opportunity to leave the program and find a gas supplier on their own. Unofficially, 154 people voted for the program and 84 were against it.
- Green Local Schools renewal: District residents overwhelmingly passed a renewal of a five-year, emergency renewal levy that generates $4.1 million per year with 2,584 votes for it and 1,288 votes against it. The levy keeps local funding at current levels and is not a new tax on residents.