One out of three incumbents to seek at-large Council seat; Six candidates file petitions

by Mike Lesko | reporter Published:

Streetsboro -- Only one of the three current Streetsboro at-large City Council members -- Council President Tim Claypoole -- will seek re-election in the November general election, according to the Portage County Board of Elections.

Six at-large Council hopefuls filed petitions for three spots by the Feb. 6 deadline at 4 p.m.. There will be no primary election because there are not more than six candidates running for three openings, according to the Portage County Board of Elections.

Not filing petitions were incumbent at-large Council members Chuck Kocisko and Julie Sanders, who are both finishing their second 4-year terms. Kocisko was a Ward 1 Councilman from 2003 to 2007. Sanders is completing her second consecutive term.

Kocisko said he decided not to run for re-election because he wants to devote more time to fundraising for the annual Streetsboro Family Days festival. Kocisko, who was festival president before resigning the role last year, said his current title is founder and advisor. His son, Johnny Kocisko, now is in charge of the festival.

"I need to knock on doors to get revenue to pay for the entertainment, which now is free to the public," Kocisko said. "I deal with Streetsboro Family Days every day, one way or another."

Sanders, after serving two consecutive 4-year terms, said, "I've been on [Council] for eight years. I want to give somebody else a chance."

Filing petitions for at-large seats were Jeffrey Allen and former at-large Council member Stephen Michniak, both of whom were members of the city's 2012 Charter Review Commission; Matt Bross, an at-large member of the city's board of zoning and building appeals; Sandy Smith-Fischer, a special education teacher at Wait Primary School and a past president of the Streetsboro Education Association, a full-time teachers union; and former mayoral candidate Brett McClafferty.

Allen, who owns two businesses and eight pieces of property in the city, previously served on Streetsboro's land use committee.

"I believe the city is in its adolescent stage," he said. "With more than 30 years in business, I believe I can help bring the city and schools together for a great future. I can get the engines restarted if they stall. The schools are the cornerstone of the community. If you have great schools and great economic development, they go hand in hand."

Bross, who works in sales and business development, is president of the Vantage Point Townhomes Association at the intersection of Frost Road and Route 43. He first got involved with the city while serving on the tax relief information committee about four years ago. Since 2010, he has been on the board of zoning and building appeals, where he is vice chair.

Bross said he would like to see "better infrastructure and roads and more sidewalks" along with better communication between the city and state legislators.

Claypoole is finishing his first Council term. Claypoole, the lead treasury analyst at a Fortune 500 company, said he wants to "continue the road improvements, fiscal responsibility, specifically aiming for a balanced budget debt reduction, and community wide cooperation with the city schools and other community organizations."

Smith-Fischer, in addition to being a past president of the SEA, serves as a building representative for the teachers' union on the schools' steering committee, a problem-solving group that meets monthly. She'd like to see "more activities for residents."

"It would be great if we had [more facilities] that would allow more families to participate," Smith-Fischer said. "We have an awesome recreation department that does a great job, but we should build on that."

She said she wants to preserve the city's green space and have fewer empty buildings, adding that new businesses should seek to use existing structures instead of constructing new ones.

McClafferty, who owns a general restoration company, said when Kocisko and Sanders decided not to run, he made the decision to seek the office.

"Hopefully, we can redevelop Market Square and revitalize that property so the city can enjoy it," McClafferty said. "We can create jobs, grow our commercial base and rejuvenate that area of town. I feel a strong commitment to the city. You have to want to serve and believe you can make an impact in the role you're seeking."

Michniak could not be reached for comment by press time.

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