October 31, 2014

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Brunswick Council primary to prune one contender

Maria Kacik | The Gazette

BRUNSWICK — Seven candidates have filed to run for the three City Council at-large seats that will be decided in the November general election, so voters will have to narrow the field down to six in the May 5 primary.

Brunswick’s charter states no more than two people can run for each Council position, thus the reason for the primary.

Each Council term is four years and members are paid approximately $11,000 annually.

Ron Falconi

Incumbent Ron Falconi, 40, of 1568 Augusta Drive, has served on Council since he was appointed last year to fulfill Tim Smith’s at-large term after Smith was named the city’s economic development manager. Falconi served on the board of zoning appeals from 2004 to 2007 and ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 4 Council seat in 2007.

“I first ran because I like helping people and I like to give back,” said Falconi, an attorney with offices in Parma.

Falconi said in his time on Council he has worked to examine the city’s budget and offer residents the choice between more budget cuts and the 0.5 percent income tax increase on the May ballot.

“I think we needed to tell people what’s going to happen here (without more taxes) or at least give them an alternative of what will happen if they don’t vote for a tax increase,” he said.

He said he plans to give $1,000 of his Council salary back to the city “to show we do have very serious budget problems and that I am putting my money where my mouth is.”

Patricia Hanek

Patricia Hanek, 57, of 4196 Shenandoah Parkway, serves on Brunswick’s Precinct 4G Committee and is a Democratic state central committeewoman. She unsuccessfully ran for county recorder in 2004.

“I’ve been a public servant all my life, so serving on Council would be a natural extension of that,” said Hanek, who is a retired claims representative with the Social Security Administration. “I’m also running because we need a change in leadership.”

Hanek said she would like to make some changes to the city’s budget. Council “has done short-term planning for long-term problems,” she said. “I would want to bring in new ideas, new people with creative thoughts to look at what’s happening in the future and not just have short visions.”

She said she would like to revitalize business in the city, partnering with local colleges and other organizations to help start-up businesses flourish in the community.

Patrick McNamara

Patrick McNamara, 52, of 112 Claremont Drive, first was elected to Council in 2005.

The incumbent said he’s focused on economic development in his time on Council. He’s said in the years he’s chaired Council’s Economic Development Committee, businesses have made more than $100 million in capital investments in the city.

In addition, he said he worked with the city’s federal and state representatives to help secure funding for projects in Brunswick. Last month the city was promised $1 million in federal appropriations for storm sewer retention projects.

“A million dollars to the city of Brunswick when we’ve never had a federal earmark before: that’s huge,” said McNamara, who is a soon-to-retire bridge inspector for the Cuyahoga County Engineer’s Office.

He noted he would like to help the city explore similar funding sources to address more infrastructure issues, such as roads. He said he would build relationships with state and federal officials in order to work on behalf of the city.

“It serves the city well having a representative that has those sorts of relationships that do get you in the door,” he said.

Gary W. Noe

Gary W. Noe Sr., 38, of 1714 Eastwood Drive, serves as an elected representative for United Auto Workers Local 3045 in Medina.

The father of two said he is running because he hopes to make Brunswick a better city for the next generation.

“I thought it was time to get involved and make a change. As a parent, you always want to give your children better opportunities than you had growing up,” said Noe, an electrician with Jacobson Manufacturing in Medina.

He said he wants to talk with residents to find what they want their government to do.

“We’ve got to remember that Council is elected by the people and for the people. I want to work by taking into account what everybody is saying and working toward one common goal,” he said.

In addition, Noe said he wants to talk with local business leaders to find out what the city can do to bring businesses to the city and keep them there.

Brian Ousley

Brian Ousley, 47, of 3185 Laurel Road, said he would like to see blue-collar workers such as himself serve on Council.

“As a working man, I need to stick within my budget. The city should, too,” said Ousley, a construction craft laborer. He suggested new people and new ideas may solve some of the city’s budget problems.

“I can’t say I know all the answers, because I don’t. But to get inside — get involved — maybe I could have a clearer picture,” he said. “The only way to do that is to get in and get dirty. I’m here to work for the community.”

As a councilman, he said he would like to work with the city administration to bring more jobs to the community and retain the ones that are already there. In addition, he said he would work with the city’s safety services to ensure Brunswick is adequately protected.

Joseph Salzgeber

Joseph Salzgeber, 40, of 611 Cattail Circle, served a year on Council after being appointed to the Ward 2 seat in 2002. He ran unsuccessfully for re-election in 2003.

He said he is running again because he would like another opportunity to manage the city’s finances.

“I saw what’s been going on in the city the last five years since I was last on Council. They’ve really let the finances get out of hand in my opinion,” said Salzgeber, who was a Medina County assistant prosecutor from 1996 to 2003 and now has his own law offices in Brunswick and Strongsville.

He said he thinks the city shouldn’t have been spending so much in recent years without first getting the money to do so.

“Somebody should have been thinking about this five years ago. I think we need people that are willing to stand up and not just go with the flow. We don’t have that,” Salzgeber said.

If elected to Council, he said he would focus on economic development in the city.

David Wadsworth

David Wadsworth, 50, of 631 Pepperwood Drive, served on Council from 1996 to 2003. He originally was appointed and then elected.

He said when he was on Council he worked to address the city’s storm sewer issues and to renovate the Brunswick Recreation and Fitness Center and Mooney Park on Windsor Drive.

“I want to get Brunswick back on the right track. We were going so well when I was on. It was just charging forward,” said Wadsworth, who is a realtor with Russell Realty in Strongsville. “I miss being involved in the running of the city. I love this community. It’s a part of me.”

He said he wants to help the city through its current budget crunch.

“These are tough times. I want to do what we have to do. Whether it’s popular or unpopular, I want to do something,” he said.

He said he would focus on economic development and bring industrial businesses to the city.

“My job is to restimulate economic development, get it back on the track it was on four years ago. I know it’s a tough economy, but it doesn’t mean that business can’t be expanded in Brunswick,” Wadsworth said.

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@ohio.net.