NORTHFIELD VILLAGE — Even as Mayor Jesse Nehez prepares to start his third term Jan. 1, his challenger on the Nov. 5 general election ballot says he is not quite ready to give up on the race.
Ward B Village Council member Keith Czerr said Friday that he wants an inquiry and recount of votes regarding his loss to Nehez.
"I feel there are some discrepancies in the ballot and I want to make sure it's certified and legal," he said. "I want to see with my own eyes and I'll take my lawyer, too, to make sure this was a fair election."
According to final, but unofficial results from the Summit County Board of Elections, Nehez won with 441 votes to Czerr’s 238.
Village Council-at-large members Jenn Domzalski and Gary Vojtush ran unopposed.
Czerr, who said he has made his request to the Board of Elections via a certified letter, said he is questioning the results because vote counts the night of the election showed him winning, which was not what he woke up to the next morning.
"All of a sudden, things turned around and changed," he said. "I’m a winner at midnight and at 7, I’m a loser. Something is real funny. I’m not going to make any allegations. I’m just going to say something does not fit right with me and not because I lost."
Information regarding Czerr’s request was not immediately available from the Board of Elections.
Council censured Czerr in October for "offensive" social media posts. Czerr has said he did not mean to offend anyone, but feels Council violated his First Amendment rights to free speech. He has also questioned the timing of the issue being raised because people in the village knew about the videos a year before, he said.
For his part, Nehez said he is "looking forward to progress, progress, progress. It's exciting."
Nehez said one thing he wants to accomplish in the next term is the expansion and renovation of the fire station on Route 8, something he said is needed with the growth of the fire department since the station opened in 2003.
"We definitely want to move forward on the fire station," said Nehez. "The fire station plans are done and we want to keep progressing on that."
Nehez said plans include adding space to accommodate a dining area, day room, and training area for firefighters working 24-hour shifts. Plans also include an additional bay.
"We have vehicles parked outside so expanding the he bay is a big priority with us," said Nehez. "At the back of the building, there's an ambulance sitting back there and sometimes there are two ambulances sitting back there and that's not what we want."
Other goals, he said, are improvements to the Smith Park playground and possibly a new home for the police department, which is currently in the Village Hall basement.
"It's just very preliminary things this year for [the police department]," said Nehez.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JeffSaunders_RP.