By David Paulk
Fairlawn residents will have just one local race to decide on during Tuesday’s election.
The Copley-Fairlawn Board of Education has four candidates -. Romi Brozeit, Sue Emich, Richard Levin and Jessica Vargo – up for three seats. For more information about these candidates, click here.
As for the City Council seats, Fairlawn has four candidates running unopposed. View the following bios for more information about the candidates.
Kathleen Baum is the incumbent candidate for Ward 6. She is running unopposed. Her background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Akron, and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Akron.
She worked for the Akron Public Schools for 30 years. She then went on to work for the Fairlawn Police Department as an administrative secretary to the police chief.
For Baum, who recently returned to council after leaving July 31, said serving on council is something she enjoys doing.
“I’d like to continue what I started in the first two years,” Baum said. “I enjoy working for the residents.”
A wife and mother of two sons, she thinks her people skills make her a good candidate.
“I’m approachable and honest,” Baum said. “Maybe it’s my background of teaching and the fact that I’m used to dealing with parents. “
Baum said the only difference between guiding students and the city are the constituents.
“It’s the residents that have concerns now,” she said.
Baum said the city of Fairlawn is on a good track. But admits there is room for improvements. Making improvements to the city’s infrastructure is something Baum wants the city to focus on a little more.
“In my ward, there are a couple of streets that need paving that are in pretty bad shape, “Baum said. “They have been put to the back burner.”
Councilman Jim Butler isn’t running for reelection this year. In his place will be newcomer Rick Herbert,who is running unopposed.
Herbert, who has lived in Fairlawn for 25 years, said it was Butler himself who asked him to run for council in Ward 1.
“He approached me and asked me if I’d be interested in running in his Ward,” Herbert said. “I thought representing the people in our area would be something I’d like to do.
“I want to represent the constituents of my ward and the city.”
Herbert’s background is in the retail business. For 25 years he’s worked for Macy’s Department Store as an operations manager. He said this experience gave him the necessary skills make him an effective council member and help the city attract new businesses to the Fairlawn area.
“Running those stores helped me learn how to get things done on a budget,” Herbert said. “I was also in charge of making sure the stores made a profit.”
Herbert’s resume also includes volunteer service. He’s a member of the Knights of Columbus, has spent six years as an assistant scout master with the Boy Scouts, along with being a leader with troop 390. He volunteered with the SEC Firestone Golf Tournament.
He has been married for 36 years and has a son.
Bryan Nace of Ward 3 said he has no plans of quitting council as he finishes up 12 years on council. He’s running unopposed for the seat.
“I think I’m doing some good here,” said Nace, who recently returned from a trip to China with Mayor William Roth to improve the city’s image overseas.
Nace said one of the reasons he is a good choice for the job is his experience. In addition to being an attorney, he manages his own law firm out of Fairlawn. He has served on the Board of Zoning Appeals, and was a chairperson of the Planning Commission in 2001. He was also a part-time magistrate on Mayor’s court from the late 1990’s until 2001.
“I thought it was important to do those types of things and I thought I was helping out the community,” Nace said. “That experience led me to believe that I would be good on council.”
He’s impressed with Fairlawn’s progress, but wants to improve certain aspects of the city’s image.
“We have to continue to upgrade our infrastructure,” Nace said. “We have to be mindful and probably get a little creative maybe with keeping neighborhoods in good shape; I know that’s a concern of some of the residents.”
Nace attended a number of colleges before settling down at the University of Akron. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a law degree from UA.
He is married and has a son and a daughter. He has lived in Fairlawn for 22 years.
For incumbent Sullivan of Ward 5, being on City Council is all about making Fairlawn a better place. Like many of her fellow council members, the 39-year Fairlawn resident said improving the city’s infrastructure is key to attracting new residents.
“I want to work with the administration to improve the housing stock,” Sullivan said. “I want to make it neighborhood that’s welcomes people who want to live here.”
She has been a council member since 2004, and is chair of the public affairs committee.
Sullivan, who is running unopposed in this year’s election, said her place on the council is someone who listens to the people. Running the city is a team effort she said.
“I want feedback from the people,” Sullivan said. “I don’t just represent myself, I’m supposed to represent the residents, and I do try very hard to do that. I’m fortunate enough to be able to touch basis with them on a regular basis.”
Part of Sullivan’s methodology is avoiding any kind of status quo in the city. She wants to make sure the city is always improving, and doesn’t become stagnant.
“We should be conscious of all areas, and not just satisfied with what is,” Sullivan said. “We can’t discount small matters because it builds up, and impacts all of Fairlawn”
Sullivan has been married 54 years and has two children and one grandchild.