Candidates prepare for mayoral primary challenge
One mayoral candidate withdrew, and another is expected to be disqualified.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
CAMPBELL -- The city council president and a former councilwoman are among those challenging Mayor John E. Dill in the city's Sept. 27 primary runoff.
The city's charter calls for a nonpartisan primary runoff six weeks before the general election. Tuesday was the filing deadline for Campbell candidates to be on the primary ballot.
The top two finishers in the primary for each elected position move on to the Nov. 8 general election. If there are one or two candidates in a race as there is for council president and the four ward council members, there is no primary for those positions.
Dill was first elected mayor in 1999. Others looking to finish in the mayoral primary's top two include:
UCouncil President Robert P. Yankle, who's held that seat since July 2000, and is a former 4th Ward councilman.
UJuanita Rich, a former 4th Ward councilwoman who lost mayoral bids in 1995 and 1999.
UFrank D. Tofil, a political newcomer. Mahoning County Board of Elections employees looking at Tofil's nominating petitions say he doesn't appear to have enough valid signatures to get on the ballot.
Campbell mayoral candidates need 100 valid signatures. Tofil submitted a petition with 114 signatures. At least 18 are questionable -- such as printed names instead of signatures and signatures from people not registered to vote -- and the board probably will rule them invalid, election board employees say.
Also, F. Anthony Fontes filed to run for mayor but withdrew his nominating petitions Tuesday because of problems with the documents. Instead, he filed to run as a write-in candidate.
The date on Fontes' statement of candidacy is later than the days his petitions were circulated. Several times in the past, the elections board has disqualified candidates for that issue, saying state election law considers it to be a fatal flaw.
At the request of city officials, the state auditor's office placed Campbell in fiscal emergency June 10, 2004, because of an operating deficit. A seven-member state-mandated commission was created to help get the city out of debt.
The commission recommended the city place a tax levy in front of voters to get Campbell out of fiscal emergency. The city did that in November 2004 and last month.
A 5-mill, 5-year additional levy to annually raise $352,760 lost in May by a vote of 1,107 against and 1,011 in favor.
The city is putting the same levy on the ballot during the Sept. 27 primary runoff.
Fontes is one of Gov. Bob Taft's three appointees to the city's financial oversight commission.
William J. Vansuch, a former council president for 10 1/2 years, is running unopposed for his old seat. Vansuch resigned from the spot in July 2000 to become the city's director of administration. He retired from that job in January 2004.
The director of law position is being vacated by Brian J. Macala, who's running in the November general election for municipal court judge.
No one filed to fill the position. When that happens, the city charter calls for the mayor to recommend a Campbell attorney -- with the minimum requirements of living in the city for two years and being a practicing lawyer for three years -- to city council for confirmation, Macala said.
If no Campbell attorney is interested in the director of law job, city council can appoint an attorney who doesn't live in the city for the term, Macala said.
John Jakubek won election as director of law in 1987 and quit seven months into his term. Council appointed Paul Gambrel, who didn't live in Campbell, to fill the remainder of the term when no city attorney wanted the job.
Also running for municipal court judge besides Macala are Mark J. Kolmacic, whose father, John, was the city's first municipal court judge, and Patrick P. Cumming of the Youngstown law firm of Green, Haines and Sgambati.
The judicial position is open because the state's age restriction for those serving on the bench makes Judge John Almasy not eligible to run for re-election. The law doesn't permit anyone 70 years of age or older to run for a judicial seat.
The city charter doesn't address the need for a primary runoff for municipal court judge so the three candidates decided to file in May to run for the seat in the November general election.
County election officials were under the impression that Tuesday was the filing deadline for candidates running for five council seats in Sebring -- four to fill four-year terms and one for an unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2007. However, officials in Sebring, also a charter community, told the election board that today is the filing deadline. As of Tuesday, four of the five incumbents had filed for Sebring council seats.