Rocky Fork Enterprise

Many candidates apply for Samuel's open council seat

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Thirteen candidates, including two former longtime City Council members, are seeking an appointment to Gahanna City Council to fill the unexpired term of David Samuel, who resigned last month.

Applicants are Kevin Cavener, Ryan Demro, Rick Duff, Malcolm Glasgow, Don Jensen, Nicholas Kelley, Tom Kneeland, Nancy McGregor, Jennifer Price, Michael Schnetzer, Ken Shepherd, Doug Strait and Asa Benjamin Winkler.

Kneeland and McGregor are both former Gahanna City Council members.

"I believe my record at Ward 1 council representative for 10 years and at-large member for almost eight provide me with a deep insight into the challenges the city faces, and hopefully, my record of supporting economic development and strategic financial decisions can play a key role in the future success of the city," Kneeland wrote in a cover letter.

He previously worked as technology director for Gahanna, and he currently works as IT director for the city of Whitehall.

McGregor served as an at-large council member for eight years from 2003 to 2011.

"I know the procedures and processes of council and can start without the learning curve of someone who hasn't held this office," she wrote.

McGregor currently works as a substitute teacher.

Cavener is a third-generation firefighter, serving Columbus and Gahanna for 26 years. He's currently assigned at Station 28, at Stelzer and McCutcheon roads.

"I have always had an interest in politics and feel my experience as a community servant would allow me to offer a new and different perspective to the city council," he wrote. "The opportunity to help the city of Gahanna move forward in these difficult economic times would be a meaningful and fun challenge."

Demro is a high school teacher at Academy for Urban Scholars and is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve. He's also a candidate for Ward 3 in the November election.

Demro, a former Lakewood City Council member, said he brings unique qualifications after serving in a larger city with a slightly poorer population and greater infrastructure challenges.

"When I left office, we had a balanced budget and addressed the infrastructure crisis that we confronted when we took office," he wrote.

Duff has spent the past 27 years working in the information technology industry, mostly for major financial institutions.

"I have managed people, budgets and multi-million-dollar projects and feel my independent and logical thinking could benefit the people of Gahanna," he wrote. "I am not a person with any political aspirations, only a heart to serve my community."

Glasgow is retired after working 25 years in the U.S. Supply Chain, with several suppliers for McDonald's restaurants, as well as his own consulting business. He has served as commander of Gahanna American Legion Post 797 for the past five years.

"I believe my experience in business and leadership to the community through the Gahanna American Legion qualifies me to be considered for the remaining time of David Samuel's term," he said.

Jensen is principal of Jensen Search Services, a small management recruiting service. He's a member of Gahanna's Board of Zoning and Building Appeals, and he was a member of Gahanna's citizens financial advisory committee in 2010.

"I'm an empty-nester so I do not have many family commitments that might cause schedule issues," he wrote. "And I manage my own small management recruiting services so I'm in control of my business schedule."

Kelley is a remote developer specializing in GMC development for PCI Group of Ft. Mill, S.C. He was raised on the east side of Woodside Green and graduated with honors from Lincoln High School in 1998.

"Through my professional positions, I have been exposed to a wide variety of technology platforms, approaches and methodologies," he wrote. "I believe my experience and professional qualifications would make me an exemplary candidate."

Price is associate director of communications and marketing at Hartley High School. She has served as a member of Gahanna's Planning Commission for almost seven years.

"The City Council position would allow me to continue to serve my community while leveraging my considerable professional experience, management skills and leadership abilities to help the city navigate through both the challenges and opportunities it will face in the immediate and near future," Price wrote.

Schnetzer, director/municipal analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., is a candidate in the race for Ward 2 in November.

"I have extensive experience reviewing case studies of cities that have gotten themselves into trouble financially and hope that I may help Gahanna steer clear of these same mistakes," he said. "Furthermore, I am aware of the proposed tax increase in this coming November election. Should voters elect not to approve the proposal, I believe my particular budgetary skills set would be incredibly valuable as a member of City Council."

Shepherd is lead auditor for Global Quality Assurance.

Because he's semi-retired, he said, he has plenty of time to not only attend required meetings but also to do research on different issues.

"I believe that I understand the culture of Gahanna and that I have a good understanding of what the people want for the future," he said.

Strait is a licensed sales professional with a multifaceted career in real estate sales, point-of-service systems and restaurant-related services. He's currently a Realtor for HER in Gahanna and in direct sales with POSLavu, in Albuquerque, N.M.

"I'm self-employed, which affords me time to spend on contributing to this city," Strait said.

Winkler works as an IT business analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and he operates a Gahanna business, maintaining a law practice focused on technology entrepreneurs. He has served on Gahanna's Board of Zoning and Building Appeals since 2008. He's current chairman of the board.

"I feel that my previous experience in Gahanna's government, together with my varied educational and employment background, would be a positive asset to the council and to the people it serves," he wrote.

Council is scheduled to interview finalists Sept. 9.

Samuel resigned last month, saying he and his wife were retiring and moving to Florida.

He won his at-large council seat in 2011. His term expires Dec. 31, 2015.

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