STOW — As soon as the results of the Nov. 6 General Election are certified, John Pribonic intends to retire from his current job to assume the leadership of the city.
Pribonic, an At-Large City Council representative, was the sole candidate on the General Election ballot seeking to fill the unexpired term of former Mayor Sara Kline. She resigned in mid-May to become the superintendent of the Cuyahoga Falls Parks and Recreation Department. Kline’s term would have expired at the end of 2019 and she could not run again due to term limits. Pribonic will serve the last year of Kline’s term. An election in November 2019 will seat a new mayor for a four-year term.
"I am very excited to represent you as your mayor," Pribonic posted on his personal Facebook page Wednesday. According to final, but unofficial, results from the Summit County Board of Elections, Pribonic received 11,976 votes. The elections board is expected to certify the recent General Election results "within two to three weeks," says Pribonic. At that point, he says he intends to retire from his position as a store director for the Albrecht Grocery Co. and be sworn in as Stow mayor. Pribonic has worked for Acme for 41 years.
City Council Member James Costello (Ward 2) has been serving as the city’s interim mayor; Costello intends to return to his council seat and complete that term in office. Doug Herchick has been serving as the interim Ward 2 council member while Costello has served as the city’s interim leader.
"Really, I have no (mayoral) agenda," Pribonic says, "but I guess if I were going to sum up what I would like to accomplish and keep going from that point would be the word ‘collaboration’ ... I want to get out there, along with my administration, to make a stronger collaboration with the school system, the businesses in the city and the civic organizations." Pribonic will strive for greater collaboration with surrounding cities as well, he reported.
Pribonic says he also intends to increase the city’s social media communication with the community and looks forward later this month to reviewing the proposals submitted toward creating a unique downtown destination in Stow.
Pribonic has served for eight years on Stow City Council and six years on the Stow-Munroe Falls School Board. Pribonic and his wife, Cindy, have two adult children, have lived in Stow for 26 years, and attend Holy Family Catholic Church. He serves on many local boards.
Once Pribonic becomes mayor and Costello returns to his Ward 2 council seat, City Council member Mike Rasor (At-Large) said council will need to select a replacement to fill Pribonic’s At-Large Council seat. According to the city charter, a majority of the remaining council members must select Pribonic’s replacement. If the replacement is not selected within 45 days of the vacancy occurring, then the mayor is tasked with filling the vacancy, according to the charter. The replacement would serve for the remainder of Pribonic’s At-Large Council term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2019, said Rasor.
Reporter Ellin Walsh can be reached at 330-541-9419, firstname.lastname@example.org or @EllinWalsh_RPC.