CUYAHOGA FALLS — The Cuyahoga Falls City Schools’ two-member parks and recreation committee, appointed to select a school district representative to the parks and recreation board, on Monday postponed making a final nomination to bring before the full Board of Education for approval.
Questions were raised by former school board members Barbara Gunter and Kellie Patterson, who attended the meeting and questioned whether the school board should be making this particular appointment in the first place, arguing there may have been a mixup in the appointment process and questioning whether the seat was a school board or city appointment.
Board members Patrice White and David Martin, who make up the selection committee, said they would have to check and delayed making a recommendation.
The seat had been held by Tim Gorbach, who told the Falls News-Press Tuesday he was, indeed, appointed by the Falls school board. Steven Amos was later appointed by the board of education to fill Gorbach’s unexpired term after Gorbach resigned. The term ended Dec. 31, 2017.
The five-member parks and recreation board, a volunteer board that assists the parks and recreation department and serves in an advisory position for policies and appointments, includes three members appointed by the Cuyahoga Falls mayor, and one member each appointed by the Cuyahoga Falls City Schools and the Woodridge Local Schools.
As well as the seat held by Amos, the seat previously occupied by Woodridge appointee Lisa King is currently empty. King resigned effective Feb. 7, citing work responsibilities.
Also on Monday, White and Martin interviewed another prospective candidate, Val Bellay, who said she became interested in the position after hearing about the controversies surrounding the appointment, and hoped she could help bring stability to the board. Bellay was a former North Royalton resident, where she served two terms on the city council and served as the council's representative on that city's parks and recreation board.
The board had previously interviewed applicants Amos, Tom Overfield Jr., Jim Robinette and Debbie Ziccardi.
They had agreed to recommend Overfield at the school board’s Feb. 7 meeting, but White dropped her support for Overfield, stating she wanted a "nonpartisan" candidate.
During the March 5 meeting, White, during a second interview with Overfield, apologized to him for the events that had transpired, but reiterated her wanting a candidate on the seat who was nonpartisan. She said that she had received correspondence about Overfield's political activities and her own search on the Google search engine made her concerned.
"There was nothing bad there," White said of her search online. "We just wanted someone a little less partisan."
Overfield said he hadn't been politically active since November.
On Nov. 7, on Overfield’s Facebook page, he posted an ad supporting Ward 6 Councilman Adam Miller’s bid for election.
"I felt it was a great opportunity to help the city," he said of applying for the parks and recreation board seat."
As a businessman in the city as well as a resident, Overfield said he was "doubly invested" in Cuyahoga Falls.
Another candidate, Adel George, had been nominated Feb. 23 but later withdrew her nomination Feb. 28, citing "concerns about the political climate" surrounding the search.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or ??@AprilKHelms_RPC??