By DENISE GRANT
Republican voters in Findlay’s 5th Ward have a three-way City Council race to decide in the primary election.
Seeking the party’s nomination are Brian Bauman, 1845 Eggleston Ave.; Randy Greeno, 824 S. Cory St.; and David Spitler, 1906 Sherry St.
The 5th Ward council seat is currently held by Republican John Harrington, who is running unopposed for council president. Harrington will replace Council President Ron Monday, who is not seeking another term.
No Democrats or independent candidates are running for the ward seat on council.
Findlay Council members are elected for two-year terms. Council members’ pay this year is $7,209, and members will receive the same pay raise percentage, if any, as other city employees in 2020.
Bauman, 31, is a district representative for U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, and serves as the Precinct 5E committeeman on the Hancock County Republican Central Committee.
Bauman said he has a “passion for the advancement of the Findlay and Hancock County community and sitting on the sidelines is not an option for me.”
Bauman has been out with his team knocking on hundreds of doors in the 5th Ward in recent weeks.
“I’m hearing about the flooding on Rosemont Drive, an abandoned home on Woodley Terrace, the need for street and curb repair in West Park, and about drug activity in our neighborhoods,” Bauman said.
“These are all important issues and I will work with governmental, private and nonprofit entities to address them. There can never be a single solution, but my job as a city councilman will be to determine the best course of action, work with my fellow council members and make decisions that serve the residents I wish to represent.”
Neighborhood safety, flood control, and road, sewer and water improvements are priorities for Bauman.
“I believe the worker shortage, suicide and overdose rates, as well as the overwhelmed foster care system are all indicative of the larger drug problem that our community faces,” Bauman said. “A recent ride-along with our police department was an eye-opening experience for me and I learned just how hard they work to combat this issue,” Bauman said.
“By partnering with our county, state and federal governments, we as a city can lead in the creation of a comprehensive plan to battle this widespread addiction issue.”
Greeno, 61, retired as Findlay Water Pollution Control Center superintendent after 34 years of service. This is his first attempt to be elected to a public office.
“Having retired with over 34 years of employment with the city, I have a vested interest in the community and the desire to continue serving the citizens. I have a proven commitment to the City of Findlay and am dedicated to make it a better community,” Greeno said.
During his campaign, Greeno said he has heard many questions regarding Findlay’s mayoral candidates and their qualifications.
Seeking the GOP nomination for mayor are Holly Frische, who has represented the city’s 1st Ward on City Council since 2014; Hancock County Commissioner Brian Robertson, who is serving his second term; and Christina Muryn.
Muryn was appointed as the city’s interim mayor in February to complete the term of former Mayor Lydia Mihalik, who resigned after she was named to a position in state government.
In November, the GOP mayoral nominee will face Democrat Chad Benschoter, 501 Edinborough Drive. Benschoter, a small business owner, is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
“Citizens have some very valid concerns regarding the candidates,” Greeno said.
“The topics of government transparency and complacency are also issues that have been discussed with the voters of the 5th Ward,” he said.
Greeno said he thinks working to inform the public of the city’s strategic planning, and providing opportunities for open discussion about the plan, is important.
Educating citizens regarding the operation of the city would also be helpful, he said.
“Suicide rates, overdose rates and the foster care system being overwhelmed are all related issues that unfortunately create a huge impact on many different aspects of life in Findlay. Several areas of government and social service agencies feel the strain caused by these matters. Keeping a full complement of properly trained public safety forces is imperative,” Greeno said.
“Guaranteeing that there are ample opportunities for education of the public, as well as providing prevention programming are also critical. Although recent studies show that these numbers appear to be slightly improving for 2019, the city can’t afford to be casual in its effort to assist with these issues.”
Spitler, 47, is a salesman with Ohio Automotive Supply. This is his first attempt to be elected to a public office.
“I feel that there is a genuine need to have new faces as well as new ideas and direction in our community. This is accomplished by electing new members to council and city administration from time to time,” Spitler said.
“I felt after the goings on of the last year or two that maybe instead of just being part of the discussion, I would venture to be part of some of the solutions.”
Spitler said there is a standing concern among residents that city government is overreaching in statutory and zoning issues.
“It absolutely needs to be addressed in the light of day for every person to see,” he said. “The city is supposed to be a place of guided information and help as needed from the administrative offices. I would strive to facilitate that to the best of my ability.”
Spitler said he has heard complaints about storm drainage from the residents of the 5th Ward on the south and southwest sides of Findlay.
“People are feeling neglected and ignored and it is not acceptable,” Spitler said.
Spitler said City Council’s role in the community is multi-faceted, and it must act for the “good standing of our community as a whole.”
“It requires attention to detail and a willingness to engage and be engaged by the people of the ward that each individual ward councilman is elected to represent,” he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Spitler’s age has been corrected in this story.