LORAIN — Jerry Donovan believes the process of appointing a replacement for the city’s mayor has been a “farce,” so he has decided to run for the appointment himself to return the decision to the city’s Democratic Central Committee.
Donovan, retired chairman of UAW Local 2000 and the father of Lorain City Council member Mary Springowski, D-at large, announced his intention to seek the appointment for the Democratic spot on the November ballot. He also said that, if elected, he will promptly resign from office shortly after taking it.
The Lorain City Central Committee will meet Sunday to appoint one of the candidates to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Chase Ritenauer, whose resignation took effect last Friday. It had been believed that the person appointed to fill the unexpired term, which runs through the end of this year, also could fill the Democratic spot on the November ballot.
Six candidates had announced their intentions to seek the appointment — Springowski, Council President Joel Arredondo, Councilman at-large Mitch Fallis, Lorain school board member Tony Dimacchia, who won a slot on City Council in May, city Auditor Karen Shawver and former state Rep. Dan Ramos.
But Tuesday, it was announced that — due to an obscure Ohio law — five of the six candidates were ineligible to be appointed to fill the Democratic vacancy on the November ballot because they had been candidates in last month’s primary election. That left only Ramos as the candidate who could appear on the ballot.
Some, including Donovan, believe it was ploy to get Ramos the appointment.
“Mary had sufficient votes to get the nomination on Sunday, based on commitments from people,” Donovan said. “Of course, people are fickle, and I know that. I think this was the B plan that some people were pulling.”
Donovan said he and others are examining “various avenues to see if we can get something put in there to relieve what we’re having to deal with.” However, if that doesn’t happen, he’ll seek the Central Committee’s appointment.
“It is my intention to seek the position of mayor of Lorain,” Donovan said. “It is also my intention, if I am successful, because of the state law, I will hold the position for the shortest possible time, resigning and putting it back, and this is how ridiculous it is, to where the precinct people will have the option to put someone in there for the remainder of the term that deals with the city stuff more than I do.
“I only attend Council meetings. Some of them, like Mary, are active Council people.”
Donovan said that way the committee will make the choice rather than having the choice “foisted on them.” He also said he believed Ramos knew about the law, since he was in the Ohio House when it was passed in 2013 and didn’t say anything about it.
“They have made a total joke of the Democratic Party,” Donovan said. “Nothing can describe what is happening other than utter incompetence, and that’s being kind. I think there was a little more to it than that.”
Ramos denied the allegation.
“That is the most patently ridiculous thing I have ever heard in politics, and this has been my job for the last two decades, and I’ve heard some ridiculous nonsense,” Ramos said. “I did vote on this bill six years ago. I voted against it for a whole lot of provisions that weren’t this, and frankly forgot about it.”
If one of the candidates who have been ruled ineligible would have won the appointment, Ramos said, it probably would have resulted in the city having no choice but to elect a Republican mayor.
“The way the law works has to do with eligibility for the ballot,” Ramos said. “What would have happened — if that was my plan or anybody else’s, which it absolutely was not — and Mary had won, we would be in a situation where the Democrats would have put up a candidate who was not legally allowed to be on the ballot. It wouldn’t have been that Mary Springowski wouldn’t have won because nobody read the law, it would have been Mary Springowski wouldn’t have been allowed to be on the ballot. There is a certain point when you’re not allowed to replace someone on the ballot, and there would have been one candidate for mayor, and that would have been Jesse Tower.”
Tower will appear on the November ballot as the Republican candidate for Lorain mayor.
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