Commmittee recommends Dunn for council seat

The Bowling Green Democratic Committee voted last night to recommend Terry Dunn to fill the city council seat left by Sarah Tomashefski, who resigned last week to complete a law degree at Ohio Northern University.

The committee will recommend Dunn at next week’s city council meeting. The council can then vote immediately to allow him to finish Tomashefski’s term, which expires Dec. 31, 2007, or can wait up to 30 days to make the final decision.

Chairwoman Sandy Wicks said it was unlikely that the city would dispute the Democratic committee’s recommendation.

“We have found our recommendation carries a lot of weight [with city council],” she said. “We do this vote openly and in the public and the council sees that as a very fair process.”

Dunn won the election with 21 votes, while opponent Lee Ellen Hakel received 16 votes. A third candidate, John K. “Jack” Hartman, who was not in attendance, received no votes.

Each candidate gave a nine-minute speech to the committee before the vote.

“I have devoted my life to public service,” Dunn told the committee as he described his qualifications for joining city council. “I speak the language of city government.”

Throughout his career, Dunn has worked as the village administrator in Rouses Point, NY, filled the role of town engineer in Sharon, Ontario, Canada, and served as Napoleon’s city manager, where he supervised administration, police and water treatment departments, among others.

More recently, Dunn has acted as project manager for facilities management, design and construction at the University of Toledo and also serves as the treasurer of the Maumee Valley Presbytery.

During a question and answer session with the candidates, some committee members voiced concern that his other current positions may leave Dunn with little time to fulfill the duties of a councilman.

Dunn said commitment would not be an issue for him, however.

“Joining city council would take top-drawer priority for me,” Dunn said. “This job takes a lot of work, a lot of effort and a lot of energy and I’m prepared to give that to the city.”

Dunn also said he was confident he could fill Tomashefski’s former position on the city council’s finance committee.

“As a treasurer, I’m used to dealing with money,” he said. “But I’m also willing to serve wherever I’m needed.”

As for the relationship between permanent residents and University students in Bowling Green, Dunn said he has already developed a strategy for dealing with disagreements that can sometimes occur between the two groups on city issues.

“The solution is to have a regularly scheduled dialogue to get to these issues early and solve them before they become major stumbling blocks,” he said. “I’ll try to discuss the problems while they are still little problems.”

Larry Sorrells, current city council member, said he was pleased with Dunn’s victory, but that any of the candidates were well-qualified for the position.

“We had three outstanding candidates,” he said. “It’s an enormous job and I’m impressed with him and wish him well.”

Wicks agreed.

“This is not an easy decision to make, but I think we have chosen someone who is very dedicated and committed,” she said.