Rocky Fork Enterprise

Stinchcomb says this is her last term as mayor

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Gahanna Mayor Becky Stinchcomb has announced she won't seek re-election next year.

She has served as the city's mayor for more than 12 years following 10 years on Gahanna City Council. Her current term will end Jan. 2, 2016.

"It is my honor and privilege to serve the citizens of the city that I deeply love," she told ThisWeek. "I'd like to make clear that it is my full intention, if the good Lord is willing, to complete my current term."

She won her third full term as mayor in November 2011 over challenger Jim McGregor. Stinchcomb was appointed to serve the last two years of McGregor's unexpired term after he resigned as mayor in October 2001 so he could be appointed to the Ohio House of Representatives' 20th District.

Stinchcomb was elected as the Ward 3 council representative five times, serving almost 10 years before being appointed mayor.

She said the city's charter mandates a petition-filing deadline of early February 2015 for anyone interested in running for mayor for the next term.

"I feel strongly that it is my duty to ascertain that any interested candidates for mayor have plenty of time to organize their upcoming campaigns," she said.

She has been telling people who have asked that she wouldn't seek re-election.

"I know a number of people considering running for mayor, and I told them," she said. "Making an announcement more than six months (in advance) is the right thing to do."

Stinchcomb said the mayor's job is life changing.

"The charter says you can have no other employment," she said. "It says you have to quit a job and take this. You make sacrifices."

An effort is under way to place a charter change before voters in November that would change the city government from mayoral form to a city-manager form.

Gahanna resident Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany's director of community development, is taking the lead of Gahanna Citizens for a Prosperous Future regarding the initiative.

She worked nine years ago as Gahanna's deputy director of community development.

Chrysler said she has no political ambitions.

"I love the community I live in," she said. "I know the structure of government. If I can make that opportunity available, I feel it's my civic obligation."

Stinchcomb said she's committed to a smooth transition if the issue goes to the ballot and is approved by voters.

She said she isn't opposed to the idea of a city manager, but she preferred the effort would have been collaborative.

"I think it's an important enough change there should be meetings and ways for the public to weigh in other than the ballot," Stinchcomb said. "I wish it had unfolded differently."

She said she's committed to using her remaining 18 months in office to continue to make Gahanna one of the best places to live and to ensure an orderly and smooth transition to the next city leaders.

After finishing her term, she said, she might retire or find work in the private sector.

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