June 26, 2016

Partly sunny

Election 2013: Incumbents seeks to retain seats in Westfield Twp.

WESTFIELD TWP. — Two incumbents, Gary Harris and Ronald L. Oiler, seek to retain their seats Tuesday against two challengers, Michael Schmidt and William N. Thombs, on the board of trustees.

Gary Harris
Harris, 63, has been a trustee since 2010. The Republican owns and operates Harris Builders.

Harris also was a scoutmaster for Chippewa Lake Boy Scout Troop 512 from 1987 to 1993 and a Gloria Glens Village councilman from 1980 to 1990.

Harris said almost everything in the township is good, but he wants to form and grow new relationships.

“The most important thing is preserving the rural atmosphere of Westfield Township while promoting sustainable growth, and keeping township roads maintained,” he said. “I also want to establish a good working relationship between the township and the fire district.”

Ronald L. Oiler
Oiler, 72, has served as trustee since 2009. Also a Republican, he is retired after 32 years at Unisys Corp.

He’s a member of the Ohio and Medina County township associations, the Medina County Council of Governments Drug Task Force, the Seville Masonic Lodge for 50 years, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Izaak Walton League.

Oiler said he’s proud of his time serving on the board and will use what he’s learned to keep Westfield on track.

“I will use my past experience in management, budgeting and finance to maintain fiscal responsibility for the township even with diminished state funding,” he said.

Michael Schmidt
Schmidt, 61, also is a Republican and though it’s his first time running for a trustee seat, he’s no stranger to local politics.

Schmidt served 25 years on the township Board of Zoning Appeals, the last 14 as chairman, and served 14 years on the Cloverleaf school board, including three terms as president.

He’s been on the board of the Medina County Career Center for four years and boasts a list of 41 youth sports, charity, church, professional and civic organizations in which he is involved or holds membership.

Schmidt cites several goals, including greater communication with residents and defined roles and job descriptions for all township employees.

But he cites one item as a clear and primary objective.

“Obviously, the elephant in the room has been the Kratzer property. In my past tenure in the area, there has not been anything as polarizing as this has been and it is creating a very unhealthy atmosphere in the township,” he said.

Tim Kratzer, a former township trustee, has sought to develop his farm off Greenwich Road.

“The latest comprehensive plan completed three years ago at a cost of $30,000 stated that this area needed further study. Unfortunately, this has not happened. My vision is to create a task force to do this,” Schmidt said.

“With my grant-writing abilities, I have already discussed getting monies to cover this. It would involve hiring a competent facilitator, engage the public who both oppose and favor development in this area, collaborate with local and state officials and commissions, and work out plan through consensus that we all can embrace.”

Thombs could not be reached for comment.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.