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5 show interest in commissioner's seat

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The field of candidates looking to fill Ted Kalo’s unexpired term as Lorain County commissioner is starting to take shape as five people have expressed interest in the opening.

Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka and former Sheffield Lake Mayor John Piskura both announced their candidacy Thursday. Former Ohio Senate candidate Sharon Sweda announced her intention to seek the position last week.

In addition, Oberlin City Councilman Ronnie Rimbert and Lorain City Council President Joel Arredondo have both spoken to Lorain County Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Giardini about seeking the seat, although neither has submitted a letter formalizing their interest, according to Giardini.

In her announcement, Siwierka touted her education as well as experience, specifically in Elyria city government. Prior to her role as safety service director, she served on Elyria City Council for two years and previously was assistant to Mayor Michael B. Keys. She also has served on the city’s Civil Service Commission, Planning Commission, Dispute Resolution Board and Personnel Placement Committee.

“In my current role and previous roles, I have consistently demonstrated the ability to work across large and complex organizations,” Siwierka said in the statement. “Over my tenure as safety service director, I have worked closely with many other government entities and elected officials. I truly feel that my credentials position me as the best person to continue to work with the standing commissioners, elected officials, other Lorain County governmental entities and — most important — the residents of our great area of Northeast Ohio.”

In a letter to Giardini about his interest in the job, Piskura spoke about restarting with a clean slate with the start of the new year.

“I definitely feel the same way, especially now that my cancer recovery is behind me, and I have been given a clean bill of health,” Piskura said in the letter. “As a result, I am excited to announce my candidacy for the recently vacated county commissioner’s seat.”

Piskura served as mayor and safety service director of Sheffield Lake from 2003 to 2012. He also worked 17 years with the Fire Department and he is a Gulf War combat veteran, his letter said.

Kalo resigned Sunday after he was appointed Lorain Clerk of Courts by members of the Democratic Party’s Central Committee. Kalo had expressed interest in running for the position this year, and was nominated after Lori Maiorana resigned. Maiorana announced her resignation, effective Jan. 1, in December, citing health reasons, but Lorain police confirmed her office was under investigation at the time of her resignation.

Lorain County Board of Elections Director Paul Adams said previously that Kalo’s replacement must be picked no sooner than five days after the vacancy opens up and no later than 45 days afterward.

Giardini said the Central Committee probably will meet sometime in the middle of February to fill the vacancy.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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