by Phil Keren
Silver Lake -- The newest member of Village Council said he thinks his small business experience will come in handy when he tackles government issues.
Village Council selected Don Alexander May 21 as its new District C representative following interviews with Alexander and John Lepkowski, the only two people to submit letters for the Council position that was vacated by Despina Mulrooney April 30.
"I was humbled by the other Council members selecting me to fill the vacant seat and ... I will work very diligently to serve Council, my district and the village," said Alexander, 44.
Though he has not served in an elected office before, Alexander said his work as owner/president of Falls Lumber and Architectural Millwork can be applied to his effort on Council.
Since both places offer smaller settings, Alexander said he believes "you can get to the core of a problem quicker. You don't have as many steps to go through to define a problem." Both venues, Alexander said, require the decision makers to "get creative" in resolving an issue.
Alexander noted there is "a lot of good relationship-building between customers and vendors" in his business, and added his work has included dealing with government in terms of zoning changes, permitting and grants.
Council President Carol Steiner (District B) said selecting between the two "well-qualified" candidates was not easy.
She added that Alexander's experience dealing with budgets and personnel in a family-owned business "fits nicely with what we do on Council."
"He's worn a lot of hats in his business," said Steiner. "He's got a diverse background of things that will plug in nicely with what we do."
Alexander said joining Council is "another way for me to serve the community."
Alexander noted he grew up in Silver Lake, is a lifetime member of the Church in Silver Lake and moved back to the village with his wife and children about three years ago.
"I wanted to move back to Silver Lake where my parents still live and raise our children in a community that I cherished as a child," said Alexander.
Alexander said his oldest daughter, 5-year-old Melina, will start kindergarten this fall in the same classroom at Silver Lake Elementary School that he attended many years ago.
"I have a passion for the village and the community," said Alexander.
Alexander's top issues
Issues related to sewer systems and water flow must be on Council's radar, said Alexander.
"As everything ages, that's going to need to be addressed continuously," said Alexander.
He added he thinks the recent upgrades to the traffic islands "are nice additions to the village."
He acknowledged he will need time to understand the procedures and processes of local government.
"I am anxious to learn from the people that are already on Council," said Alexander.
Alexander, a University of Akron graduate, has worked at Falls Lumber since 1984.
He is a past president of the Cuyahoga Falls Executive Club and also belongs to the Akron Home Builders Association, the Cleveland Home Builders Association and the Architectural Woodworking Institute.
Alexander's wife Gina chairs the village's citizens housing committee. They have two daughters: Melina and Ava, 3.
Alexander will be sworn into office at Council's next meeting June 4. His term runs through Dec. 31, 2009. District Councilmembers are paid $250 a month.