Hilliard voters will have a chance to size up all candidates for local Nov. 3 races in a "Meet the Candidates" forum to take place in Hilliard Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Hilliard voters will have a chance to size up all candidates for local Nov. 3 races in a "Meet the Candidates" forum to take place in Hilliard Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Organized by the Franklin County Consortium for Good Government (FCCGG) and sponsored by the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, the forum will include candidates for the Hilliard City Council, Norwich Township Board of Trustees, and the Hilliard City School District Board of Education races.

The forum is designed with an eye toward audience-candidate participation, said FCCGG co-chairman Dave Paul.

"The consortium forums always include, and are predicated upon, audience members posing questions to the candidates," Paul said. "On several occasions, we've been asked to be involved in events with a different format and we've declined. That interaction is our hallmark."

Paul said the forum will include an as-yet-to-be-named professional moderator. Organizers will pass out question slips to audience members, who will then submit candidate questions to a panel for screening.

"The committee is nonpartisan, and they're not looking to filter questions out, but to combine them when we get similar questions," Paul said. "The panel also will ensure that all questions are such that each candidate can answer -- whether it's an attack question on a specific candidate, if nothing else we'll try to reword it so that each candidate can answer."

Paul said the forum will give each candidate a one-minute opening statement, and then allow for one minute responses to each question. The lineup will rotate with each question so that the same candidate doesn't always answer first, he added.

Candidates for four Hilliard City Council seats include Republicans Brett Sciotto, Jim Ashenhurst, Stephanie Kunze and Kelly McGivern, and Democrat Meagan Pandey. Sciotto, the current city council president, is serving the fourth year of his first term in office. Ashenhurst was appointed to council earlier this year to serve out the remaining six months of former councilwoman Kim Allison's term. McGivern, who was appointed to fill former councilman Mike Cope's unexpired term, is seeking election for the first time. The fourth open seat will be that of council vice president William Uttley, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits. Pandey recently was endorsed by the Franklin County Democratic Party.

In Norwich Township, two incumbents and a newcomer are vying for two seats on the board of trustees. Current board president Chuck Buck is seeking his third term as trustee, after being appointed in 2000 and then elected to two terms since. Buck co-owns Buck & Sons Landscaping in Hilliard with his brother, Steve.

Running for his second term on the board is incumbent Larry Earman, who has operated Earman & Wood, a certified public accountant firm in Hilliard, for nine years.

Rounding out the list of candidates is Fred Berkemer, who owns Frederick L. Berkemer Co., L.P.A. in Columbus. Berkemer has lived in Norwich Township for 22 years.

The forum will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Joint Safety Services Building, 5181 Northwest Parkway, Hilliard. The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will begin the evening at 6:30.

A complete schedule of countywide candidate forums can be found on the Web at www.franklincountyconsortium.com.