By DENISE GRANT
The Hancock County Republican Party is expected to name a new Findlay mayor on Monday.
County GOP Central Committee members, those representing Findlay precincts, will meet at 7 p.m. to make the appointment.
The meeting will be held in council chambers at the Findlay Municipal Building, 318 Dorney Plaza, and is open to the public, but seating will be limited.
There are currently 27 Central Committee members representing Findlay.
Committee members help coordinate political activity for the party, and are responsible for events like voter registration drives, voter outreach at public events, fundraising, election year activities, and picking a replacement should an elected official in their party be unable to finish a term.
Former Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik resigned in January after being named as director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, under Gov. Mike DeWine. That agency signs off on tax incentives and other government programs meant to promote economic development.
The person who is appointed mayor Monday will serve out the remainder of Mihalik’s term, which runs through this year.
Findlay 1st Ward Councilwoman Holly Frische and Christina Muryn of Findlay have both applied for the mayoral appointment.
Frische and Muryn, and a third candidate, Hancock County Commissioner Brian Robertson, will vie for the Republican Party’s nomination in the May primary to seek a full, four-year term as mayor, which begins in 2020.
Frische, 41, was elected to represent the city’s 1st Ward on council in 2013. She has been re-elected twice.
Muryn, 27, is the director of business and physician development for the Pain Management Group, Findlay. This will be her third try for an elected public office.
Robertson, 51, first took office as commissioner in January 2013, and was re-elected in 2016. He is serving the third year of his second, four-year term.
He is the president of MBDS, a manufacturing company headquartered in Findlay.
Robertson opted not to seek the mayoral appointment, and instead serve out the third year of his current term as commissioner, due to concerns over limited transition time, he said.
On Monday, Frische and Muryn, who have already been interviewed by the party’s Candidate Review Committee, will each be given three minutes to speak about their aspirations for the mayor’s office. Each will then be asked to respond to written questions submitted by committee members.
A coin toss will decide who speaks first, said Linda Casey, who helped organize the nomination process for the committee.
She said each candidate will be asked to leave the chambers while the other candidate speaks and answers questions.
It is possible for another mayoral candidate to be nominated from the floor, but the nomination would have to be accepted by the committee, Casey said.
There have been rumors that the GOP may want acting Mayor Ron Monday to serve out the remainder of the term, but Casey said Monday isn’t interested.
“He’s already told us to hurry up and make the appointment, because he wants to go back to his job as council president,” she said.
Once the appointment is made, Casey said the new mayor should be fully installed by next week.
By state law, the committee has 45 days to make the appointment. Mihalik resigned at midnight Jan. 13.