LAKEMORE Villagers and friends attended Lakemore Village Council’s Jan. 6 meeting to witness the swearing-in of new Mayor Rich Cole.
Cole was sworn in by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is a cousin.
Cole, who grew up in Lakemore and graduated from Springfield High School, has lived in the village all his life. It has been a dream of his to become mayor of his hometown. He said that his neighbor, Betty Ross, said to him as a child that he would someday be mayor of the village.
Cole ran unopposed at the Nov. 12 election. Former Mayor Rick Justice did not run after completing eight years.
Also sworn in was Councilwoman Anne Snyder to begin her third term and newly elected Councilwoman Heather Anderson. Later in the meeting, Jon Strittmatter, who filled out the term for Chad Lance, was sworn in to fill the position for Cole, who resigned as a councilman at the Dec. 16 meeting to become mayor.
Councilwoman Laura Cochran introduced LaRose, who took office as the state’s 51st secretary of state. He also served two terms as a state senator.
“As Ohio’s Chief Elections Officer, he is working to ensure that Ohio’s elections are secure, accessible and accurate. He works to do his part to help entrepreneurs succeed,” she said.
LaRose served as a Green Beret and is a decorated veteran. He and his wife Lauren live in Hudson with their three daughters.
LaRose said he is proud of Cole and that he knows he will do a good job as Lakemore’s mayor.
“Tonight he is going to make a commitment and a promise,” he said.
LaRose pointed out a marine and the police and fireman that were in the room and said that they made a commitment as well. He said the residents need to do their part to support Cole but, also, to hold him accountable.
“Give him the love and support that he needs for this job. Keep him humble if he begins to think he is a big shot and make sure to point out to him how this city could be better governed,” said LaRose. “I know this community has many bright days ahead of it with the passion and the energy this man is going to bring to this official position.”
Cole thanked God and then the villagers for electing him, thanked LaRose for participating and thanked all the council members and Fiscal Officer Tracy Fast for their hard work.
“I hope and pray every day that I will be a good mayor for the people of Lakemore and I hope I never let you down,” he said.
Passed legislation included:
• An ordinance previously establishing a position and maximum rate of pay for the position of part-time, paid overnight for the Fire Department was amended to the hourly rate of $16 an hour.
• A resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with the Summit County Public Defender’s Commission for the defense of indigents in the Akron Municipal Court for a period of through Dec. 31.
• An ordinance to amend appropriations for the current expenses and other expenditures of the village during the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2020.
• A settlement agreement and release were made and entered into between the village and Barbicas Construction Company. Barbicas entered into a contract with Lakemore for construction work on the Plaza Boulevard reconstruction project. The village agreed to pay Barbicas the amount of $20,499 in settlement of the dispute. Payment of $6,000 had been previously authorized by council and was made on Dec. 20. Barbicas has agreed to repair and replace the butt joint at the eastern limits of the project for labor costs. The village will pay for the material and trucking, estimated to be $1,700.
• Councilman Tracy Douglas thanked Justice for his eight years of service to the community.
The next meeting will be at 7 p.m., Jan. 21 at the Municipal Building.