By MICHELE MURPHY
Sheffield Village Mayor John Hunter is seeking his fourth term in office. He has spent two recent weekends securing signatures on his nominating petition that will get his name on the Nov. 5 ballot.
As of June 24, current council members Bob Markovich and Carolyn White had pulled petitions from the Lorain County Board of Elections to run for mayor and their council positions. Markovich and White can file to run for only one of the elected positions.
Markovich and White were contacted by email twice and asked why they are considering a run for mayor and what they would do if elected. They did not respond.
The filing deadline is Aug. 7. Fifty valid signatures are needed to make the ballot.
The mayor serves a four-year term and oversee the administrative duties for the village’s 4,268 residents. Per Ohio Revised Code, village mayors also hold the title safety-service director and planning commission chair. Hunter, who just turned 77, is paid $79,000 annually for the full-time position.
On a recent Saturday morning, Hunter posted himself in front of Giant Eagle at Abbe and Detroit roads, in the heart of the community, to collect signatures on his petition. He asked residents and visitors their opinions of how things are going in the village and what improvements they might like to see.
Responses were consistent. Things are going well, they told him. Most could not suggest a change they think is needed. Jim Mackert from Elyria actually swung back after initially telling Hunter he thought things in the village were fine. "What about the traffic?" he asked while waving his arm toward the busy intersection. Hunter acknowledged the streets were busy — a good thing for commerce — but also created delays and accidents. He told Mackert about planned construction to improve traffic flow and reduce accidents. Mackert seemed satisfied.
While those from outside the village were not eligible to sign his petition, they were still willing to chat. Hunter asked shoppers who live outside the community what he can do to make the village better and always thanked them for shopping in the village.
He registered surprise only twice and that was when he encountered former mayor Darlene Ondercin, with whom he exchanged brief pleasantries. Later, a couple visiting from Indiana told him they had attended the Cleveland Indians-Detroit Tigers game the previous night to see Indians relief pitcher Nick Wittgren, a longtime friend. They'd enjoyed breakfast at a local restaurant and were heading home.
In about an hour's time, Hunter secured six signatures, passed out business cards and received an informal report card on village accomplishments. He said he was heading to a nearby development to talk with people in their front yards.
Michele Murphy is a freelance reporter from Avon Lake.