by Mike Lesko and IsSac Profitt
Streetsboro -- Eight-year City Council member Chuck Kocisko, who decided not to seek another term in the November general election, was often quick with an opinion or a joke at Council meetings.
Always eager to get involved and help out his city, Kocisko said he decided not to run for office again because he wants to devote more time to fundraising and helping to coordinate Streetsboro Family Days, an annual festival designed to foster a sense of community, goodwill and pride in Streetsboro.
Kocisko, who was festival president until he resigned the title last year, said his current title with the festival is "founder and advisor." His son, Johnny, now is president and entertainment director.
"I need to knock on doors to get revenue to pay for that entertainment, which now is free," Kocisko said. "You can't get that anywhere. I've got a big job with Family Days. I need to devote more time to that.
"It's such an important event," he said. "People enjoy themselves. We have to bring in the entertainment. Families can't afford $30-$40 tickets. It's not fair to the community. I don't want to shortchange them.
"They need somebody to get in there and devote more time to fundraising," he said. "I deal with Streetsboro Family Days every day, one way or another."
Another example of Kocisko's dedication to his town and his people was on Nov. 15-16 when he helped organize a two-day, 16-hour benefit concert at Stringz & Wingz to raise money for Sonny Geraci, the Cleveland native best known as the original lead singer for "The Outsiders" and "Climax." More than 20 entertainers performed.
Geraci, who suffered a brain aneurysm a year and a half ago, is still working toward a full recovery, and proceeds from the concert will help pay for his medical bills.
"Some people said that we should have this event in a bigger city like Cleveland," said Kocisko. "But I am proud that we had it here in Streetsboro, and it was a great success that brought in a couple thousand people."
Kocisko began serving on City Council in 2003 and, after taking a break, was elected to a second term in 2009.
Kocisko attended his final meeting as a Council member Nov. 25 along with fellow Council member Julie Sanders, who is also stepping down after two four-year terms.
"I will miss Ms. Sanders' kind heart and Mr. Kocisko's feisty spirit," Councilwoman Julie Field told the audience.
Councilman John Ruediger said, "We're in a much better place because of both of you."
Police Chief Roy Mosley III praised Kocisko for being "a strong supporter of our police and fire departments for a long time."
Mayor Glenn Broska told Kocisko, "You will be missed."
Kocisko said serving on Council has been an "honor."
"It's been a real honor and pleasure to be a part of this [Council] body, and it's been an honor to work with this administration the last two years," Kocisko said. "Mayor, continue to do what you're doing because it's working."
At the Dec. 9 meeting, Council resolutions of commendation were approved for Kocisko and Sanders.
In addition to serving on Council, Kocisko was praised for being part of the Civil Service Commission, the Master Plan Review Commission and supporting Streetsboro Junior Baseball, among numerous other things.
"I don't remember doing all that," he joked to Council. "I can't believe I did all that stuff."
Sanders, who served as chairperson of Council's service and finance committees, was publicly recognized for "her outstanding service to the city" and "for her value and appreciated service."
Kocisko said he loved working on Council and would not change any of the experiences he had.
"I cannot honestly say that there was anything that I disliked about my terms of service," said Kocisko. "Sure, there were challenges, but knowing the importance of the work I was doing made it worthwhile."
Some of the challenges Kocisko mentioned included helping to get levies passed for the Streetsboro schools and ensuring that there were enough fire and safety personnel on the roads, especially during the winter months.
"Making sure the roads in the city were in good driving condition was always an issue that we've managed to maintain pretty well," he said.
"I was always proud to be on [Council's] safety committee," he said. "In the early 2000s, we did not have cameras or computers in our police cruisers. I really helped promote that. Safety has always been on top of my list through the years."
He said he is looking forward to staying involved in making decisions for the city. He would like to be a member of the planning commission next year.
"I was on the [Council's] planning commission before I got on Council," he said. "All the people I've served with, their hearts are in the right place. I've been happy to be part of this process and help to be able to make a difference."
And if there's a chance to throw in a joke or two, he's willing to do that, too.