April 18, 2014

Mostly cloudy

Brunswick mayor ready to take office

BRUNSWICK — Brunswick’s 12th mayor was sworn into office in a ceremony Friday night. Mayor-elect Ron Falconi will take office on Wednesday.

“I think the biggest thing I need to do is work with Council to find a new city manager,” said Falconi, who ran unopposed for the mayor’s seat.

Jim Lukas resigned in August. In November and December, Council members narrowed down a field of applicants found with the aid of a search firm.

In the end, members, including Falconi, who serves as an at-large Council member until Dec. 31, voted 4-3 to extend an offer, but failed to get a super-majority needed to take the action.

He said that while he no longer has a vote on the issue, he can still share his thoughts with Council members.

“It’s going to be different than in the past, but I’m hoping I’ll still be able to share my opinions with Council,” he said. Falconi, an attorney must take a course in Columbus in mid-January before he can begin Mayor’s Court sessions, but said he has sat in on a few sessions with Mayor Gary Werner and is prepared for the position.

In brief remarks, he thanked his family and friends for supporting him, and thanked the families of all public officials who serve.

“The families share in the sacrifice of our time,” Falconi said.

Taking Falconi’s place on Council is Alex Johnson who was accompanied by mother Nikki Johnson, wife Michelle and daughters Alexis to the swearing-in ceremony.

Johnson was sworn into office by MaryAnn Chandler, a Brunswick resident and attorney who urged Johnson to run for the seat. Johnson has experience serving on the Parma Heights City Council and said he enjoys public service and is excited to start serving in Brunswick since moving to the city three years ago.

“I love serving and my wife’s been supportive,” he said.

Johnson said he’s not concerned with the tension over selecting a city manager and said he’s ready to start anew when the search continues in January.

“I think we need to find someone and I’m ready to build bridges and work to get that settled,” he said.

Also sworn in on Friday night were at-large Council members Brian Ousley and Pat Hanek who ran unopposed to keep their positions. Medina Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler praised the elected officials gathered to be sworn in, saying it’s sometimes harder to step forward for a local office than a higher office.

“In some ways, to be elected by your fellow citizens is more impressive,” he said. “Because these people know you, and they’re putting their trust in you.”

Brunswick City Council will meet for their first session of the new year at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 in Council Chambers, 4095 Center Road.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.