TRUMBULL COUNTY The quest for council members

Show up at an Orangeville council meeting, and you might just be considered for a seat.
WARREN -- While candidates were lining up to file petitions for many races on last Tuesday's election ballot, they weren't beating down the doors in Orangeville and West Farmington.
"It's just the nature of those two little villages," said Norma Williams, director of the Trumbull County Board of Elections. "It's difficult to determine who's in office. Periodically, we have to ask them."
There were four open village council spots in each community. After the election, the vacancies still exist because nobody filed as candidates for the seats, not even the incumbents.
Williams said it will be up to the council members to fill the vacancies by appointment.
West Farmington incumbents who did not file for re-election were Thomas Christlieb, Daniel Patchin, Jeffery Stephens and Thomas Mooney.
In Orangeville, they were James Wade, Ray Chalfant, Jean Scharba and Burt Scheel.
Making way: Scharba, 74, said she decided not to seek re-election in hopes that a younger person would run for council.
"If they [council members] vote me back on, I'll do my part," Scharba said.
"Nobody seems to be interested. I don't know why that is. It's not a difficult job."
Scharba said it's difficult finding people to work the polls on Election Day. Orangeville has only 189 people.
If any village residents are interested in serving on council, Mayor Ruth Bennett explained, all they have to do is show up at a council meeting and they'll be considered for an appointment.
The pay: Bennett said people don't hold office for the money in smaller communities. As mayor, she's paid $50 a month. Council members get $25.
"It took me two months to pay for my briefcase," Bennett said, laughing.
West Farmington Mayor Allen Patchin said he can usually find people to fill the seats.
One incumbent who didn't file is Patchin's son, Daniel.
Jackie Mitton, clerk/treasurer, said the mayor recruits members not only for council, but for the zoning board and the board of public affairs as well.
Mitton said Councilwoman Deidra Bailey plans to resign. She was elected to the Bristol Board of Education on Tuesday.
Bailey was not among the four whose terms expire at year's end.
"You have to be interested," Patchin said. "I'm not here for the money."
The West Farmington mayor is paid $2,000 annually; council members receive $50 monthly.

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