Delaware News

Sunbury council, Big Walnut board will lose incumbents

Four public officials say they won't try for re-election in fall; few hopefuls have taken petitions to run in November


The makeup of Sunbury Village Council and the Big Walnut school board will change next year as two incumbents from each group plan to skip the November general election.

Joe Gochenour, who was appointed to Village Council in November 2011, and Scott Weatherby, appointed in January to the council, have said they will not run. School board members Pamula Lillie and Verna Hines also said they won't seek re-election.

Gochenour said Wednesday, July 24, that he is too busy with work and other diversions to continue as a council member.

Weatherby said in January that he likely would stay on for only a year. As of July 24, he said that decision still stands.

He added his brother, Sean, might run for council. The men's father, Len Weatherby, is council president and former longtime mayor of the village.

The filing deadline for this fall's election is Aug. 7.

Two other council incumbents, Tom Zalewski and Dave Miller, will run this fall. Four seats are up for grabs, but as of July 25, no one had filed to run, Delaware County Board of Elections officials said.

Both Zalewski, who is seeking a third four-year term, and Miller, appointed in January 2012, have taken out petitions and plan to collect more than 100 signatures each from registered voters. That would more than double what they officially need to have to qualify for the ballot.

Zalewski said he wants to stay on to concentrate on certain projects, including attracting a Max & Erma's, Applebee's or similar type of restaurant to the village.

Miller said he wants to remain a part of the decision-making in the village.

"I actually enjoy it," he said. "It keeps me busy and involved in the community."

Lillie served on the Big Walnut school board from 1998-2005 before stepping down for health reasons. She ran for re-election in 2009 and won another four-year term.

She said in an email that she wants to spend more time with her husband and family.

"The school district is in a good position for the future and it's a great time for new ideas and fresh faces to lead our schools," Lillie wrote.

Hines, a retired school teacher who taught for 25 years in Big Walnut, previously said she would not run for a third four-year term. She could not be reached for comment last week.

Board President Alison Fagan already has filed to run. She was elected for the first time in November 2009.

"I am passionate about the importance of public education and I believe that I can offer our community continued leadership and stability," Fagan wrote in an email.

No one else has filed to run for school board, according the the board of elections. Lillie said in her email that she will back Fagan.