Former Warren mayor back in city politics

By Ed Runyan

WARREN — Liberty Township voters have elected two newcomers, Stan Nudell and Jason Rubin, and ousted longtime incumbent trustees Gary Litch and Jack Simon.

Simon, a 12-year veteran, said Tuesday night that he was “at a loss” to understand why voters didn’t support his candidacy given the positive steps the township has made in recent years.

“I though we were moving forward,” he said.

Simon said, however, that he supports Nudell and Rubin and feels they will do a good job, saying they are both good businessmen.

“I guess voters thought it was time for a change,” he said.

Nudell, reached by phone, credited his committee for working hard for him through phone calls and other methods of getting out the word on his candidacy. He also went door to door, he said.

“It was time for a change. We felt more could be done for the township,” he said.

As for Liberty Board of Education, voters selected Christine Flanagan, incumbent Gloria Lang and Joseph Nohra.

Countywide, voters solidly said no to two $5 vehicle license tax increases that would have raised money to help repair roads and bridges.

Warren voters, who have seen police and fire department staffing cut dramatically in the past year, vturned to a man who served as mayor here when conditions were better.

Voters selected Dan Sferra, 60, who was Warren mayor from 1980 to 1995, to be one of three at-large council members. Voters also kept incumbents Helen Rucker, the top vote getter, and Bob Dean but booted Dan Crouse, who finished two percentage points behind Dean.

Though Sferra said he has no aspirations of being mayor again, he thinks he has something the current mayor, Michael O’Brien doesn’t: The trust of the city’s workers.

Sferra said he thinks workers understand that tough choices need to be made to live within the declining revenue of the city and that they trust him to make the decisions that need to be made.

The current administration lost that trust when it failed to plan ahead for the loss of revenue from Delphi Packard Electric, Sferra said.

“I think I can look at an issue and use my institutional knowledge from 15 years ago,” he said at his home on Eastland Avenue after most of the results had been recorded.

Crouse, meanwhile, who ran as an independent, said he will continue to work on behalf of the city on issues he feels are important, especially energy savings.

Crouse said there are “all kinds of new opportunities for the city, and I’ll pursue them on a private level.”

Two other positions on council will change hands Jan. 1, as James “Doc” Pugh was defeated Tuesday by Cheryl A. Scaffold in the 6th Ward, and Eddie Colbert will replace Susan Hartman, whom he defeated in the primary, in the 7th Ward.

In Brookfield Township, voters selected Ronda Bonekevic, Kelly Carrier-Bianco and Gwen Martino for the school board and said no to the three Pasquerillas on the ballot — incumbent Joseph Pasquerilla and his wife Ann and daughter, Rachel.

In Bazetta Township, Frank Parke and Don Urchek were the top vote getters out of nine candidates with 18 percent and 16 percent of the vote, respectively. The two incumbents did not seek re-election.

In Howland, incumbent Trustee Sally Wehmer and newcomer Matthew VanSuch were the top vote getters out of eight candidates. Longtime incumbent Trustee Richard Orwig was defeated.

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