CUYAHOGA FALLS — All three at-large city council members are running for different offices on Nov. 5, with one seeking a different at-large post, one vying for a court post and and the third running for a ward council seat.
The three four-year at-large seats on city council are held by Tim Gorbach (D), Jeff Iula (R) and Meika Penta (D). The terms for the seats held by Gorbach and Iula expire on Dec. 31, 2021. The one for Penta expires at the end of 2019.
Gorbach is seeking election to the four-year spot that is currently held by Penta. Gorbach’s opponent in the At-Large race is Ward 8 Council member Russ Iona (R), whose term also expires at the end of the year. Iula is running for election to Clerk of Courts for Stow Municipal Court against Bradford Chapman, Steve Stahl and current clerk, Amber Zibritosky.
Meanwhile, Penta is running for election to the two-year Ward 3 council post against Republican Cecilia Robart.
If Gorbach wins the election, he will step down from the other at-large seat and that post will be filled by the Cuyahoga Falls members of the Summit County Democratic Party’s Central Committee. If Iona wins, Gorbach will remain in the at-large seat that he currently occupies for two more years.
If Iula wins the clerk of courts race, he will step down from his council post and the Cuyahoga Falls members of the Summit County Republican Party Central Committee would appoint his replacement. If Iula does not win the clerk race, he will still have two more years to serve as an At-Large city council member.
Penta was appointed to the At-Large seat in February after council member Paul Colavecchio resigned when his wife, Diana, accepted a position as the city’s community development director. Penta said the at-large vacancy and her appointment to it occurred after she had announced her intention to run for Ward 3.
While noting she could have "changed course" and sought the At-Large spot, Penta said she wanted to "honor my commitment" to the Ward 3 residents.
Gorbach said as Colavecchio was preparing to resign earlier this year, he "really wanted to make sure that he was confident in who was going to run for the seat."
"After speaking with Paul regarding his concern about him stepping down without a candidate to run for his seat full term, I realized it was a chance for me to honor his service on council and allow our residents a choice of candidates for this seat," said Gorbach.
Gorbach said he has not talked about this situation as he’s campaigned, but has answered voters’ questions when they’ve brought it up.
"[My constituents] are used to me running At-Large," said Gorbach. "I do say I’m running at-large ... I don’t go into a long dissertation about everything that’s going on because quite frankly, it’s the same people that have voted for me before. It’s the same constituency."
Gorbach’s campaign sign and literature use the word "re-elect"; He said the Summit County Board of Elections told him he could use the word "re-elect" on the campaign materials.
Other races, issues
In addition to city council and clerk of courts races, city voters will also pick two out of three candidates for Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education. Two Woodridge Local School candidates on the ballot have a write-in challenger for two seats, and three candidates are on the ballot for one Stow Municipal Court judgeship.
Voters will also be asked to decide three Summit County Charter amendments — referred to as "housekeeping" measures by county officials — as well as a 2.95-mill renewal levy for the Summit County ADM.
Also, the Akron Zoo is seeking renewal of an existing 0.8-mill tax levy plus an increase of 0.4 mills, for a total tax levy of 1.2 mills.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.