LORAIN — Following the mayor’s resignation Thursday afternoon, several city Democrats are interested in the party’s appointment early next month — including former state Rep. Dan Ramos and several current city officials.
Mayor Chase Ritenauer announced his resignation, effective 11:59 p.m. May 31, after serving the city for close to eight years. He and his family will be moving to Crestwood, Illinois, as he has taken a job with Republic Services.
After his announcement to staff and media at 4 p.m. Thursday, potential appointees already have been showing interest in finishing Ritenauer’s term through Dec. 31. The Lorain City Democratic Central Committee will take two votes, one to finish Ritenauer’s term and another to replace him on the party’s ballot in the November election. City Party Chairman Paul Adams said typically the same person receives both votes.
Ramos said Thursday evening he had not fully decided whether he would campaign for the committee’s appointment but was seriously considering it and would be looking at his options in the coming days.
“My plans, if you would have called me yesterday would have been to endorse Chase Ritenauer and vote for him this November,” Ramos said. “I haven’t been hoping he’d leave or chomping at the bit for this kind of thing — I don’t have any ‘Ramos for Mayor’ yard signs sitting around in a bunker somewhere. But the thing I miss most about my old job was serving the people. I really liked that and I got to do that for obviously my whole district but having it be my hometown … was really something very special to me. I’m taking very serious consideration over this over a potential appointment.”
Others vying for the mayoral position include at-large Councilwoman Mary Springowski and recently elected at-large Councilman Tony Dimacchia. Both previously have said they were interested in running for mayor, but were willing to support Ritenauer through his tenure.
Springowski, who came out on top in the May primary among nine at-large candidates, said she hopes the committee sees Lorain residents have faith in her.
“This is the Democratic Party, we are here to represent the people and we talk about many different things in that, but one of the things we’ve always said is that we are here to represent the people and the people’s wishes,” she said.
Dimacchia, currently vice president of Lorain school board, announced his first bid for mayor in 2017, before setting his sights on City Council this election cycle. Dimacchia was elected to one of three at-large Council seats in the primary earlier this week and, if appointed as mayor, plans to bring his same dedication he brought to the city’s schools to the administrative position.
“This school issue is a city issue as well,” he said. “Our city only goes as our school system does and I appreciate Chase and his recent fight with House Bill 70 and I fully intend on continuing that fight in whatever position I sit in.”
At-large Councilman Mitch Fallis said he has a strong desire to be mayor and will be reviewing his opposition and talking to his family to determine if he should seek the appointment.
Fallis was re-elected to his seat in the primary.
The only at-large councilman to not be re-elected Tuesday, Joe Koziura, said Thursday he wasn’t interested in a bid for mayor but would look to regain his Council seat if any of the three at-large members were appointed to the position. Coming in fourth in the primary — fewer than 300 votes behind Fallis — Koziura has roughly 48 years of public service under his belt, including serving as the city’s mayor from 1996 to 1999.
“I’ve been very lucky over the years to be having the people of Lorain and other areas that I was elected to elect me and I feel very privileged to have had the honor of serving as long as I have,” he said. “I enjoy it and I think I’m a valuable contributor to the city, especially at these times.”
City Auditor Karen Shawver also threw her name into the ring Thursday, noting she has extensive experience in city government via her time as auditor.
In a news release, she thanked Ritenauer for his service and the progress he has brought to the city and hopes to continue that progress if appointed.
Shawver or Springowski would be the city’s first female mayor, if appointed.
An outlier in Thursday’s announcements, former County Commissioner and current Lorain Clerk of Courts Ted Kalo said he would not be seeking the appointment. Safety/Service Director Dan Given shared similar sentiments.
The Central Committee plans to move forward with its appointments as soon as possible, chairman Paul Adams said. The last time the city’s mayor resigned mid-term was in 2007, with Republican Craig Foltin stepping down in August. The city spent 28 days without a mayor before John Romoser was appointed.
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