Past Ward 1 rep. returns to Council in new position

After less than a two month absence from City Council, former Ward 1 representative Sarah Tomashefski is back – appointed and sworn in as a Council member at-large at last night’s meeting. Her appointment follows the Feb. 6 resignation of John Mura, who had served on Council for 12 years.

Tomashefski served on Council for six and a half years, wrapping up her last term in December 2005. She will now fill Mura’s unexpired term, which will run through the end of 2007.

“I’m excited to do it, I really enjoyed being on City Council before,” Tomashefski said.

First elected in 1999 as an undergraduate student at the University, Tomashefski was the Ward 1 Council representative for three terms, before deciding not to run for re-election in November 2005.

Now a full-time law student at Ohio Northern University, Tomashefski said she’s ready to serve Bowling Green again, and bring some experience to “a relatively young council.”

Also citing her experience area democrats see Tomashefski as a qualified person to fill the vacancy.

“I think Sarah’s an excellent choice and a very qualified candidate,” said Allen Baldwin, chair of the Wood County Democratic Party. “There’s a lot of new people on council and she’s someone to come back with a lot of experience.”

Bowling Green resident and former school board member John K. Hartman also expressed an interest in filling the vacant seat on Council, but was unable to attend the Wood County Democrats’ meeting last Wednesday, where the party nominated a replacement for Mura. Tomashefski was chosen by about 25 members at the meeting, who in turn recommended her to Council.

Hartman said he was eager to bring his experience and knowledge to Council, but says his opportunity was snuffed out.

“I think the City Council in Bowling Green needs someone who is committed to listening to the public in how issues are decided,” Hartman said, adding that he would have treated everyone’s concerns equally.

Hartman said he had the option of sending a surrogate to the Democrats’ meeting in his place but declined, preferring to speak on his own behalf.

“I was informed of the meeting [last] Monday morning and was not consulted if I would be available, and because of my work schedule could not attend,” Hartman said. “I don’t think it was a fair proceeding.”

Also at last night’s meeting, Megan Newlove, Ward 3 council representative, was elected president of the Council, and Tomashefski was elected president pro-tem. Now if the mayor is out of town, Newlove will take his place, and as pro-tem Tomashefski will then take over as Council president.

In his report to Council, Municipal Administrator John Fawcett said the new parking meter rates will be enforced as soon as next week, when new electronic hardware should be installed on the meters.

“We ask that the citizens look at the meter before they look away,” said Fawcett, citing there will be some leniency as people get used to the new rates.

Twenty-five cents will now buy one hour at a city parking meter, opposed to the two hours it previously bought.