Hilliard Northwest News

City Council appoints Baker to Kunze's seat


Hilliard City Council members on Feb. 11 unanimously agreed to name Tom Baker to fill the unexpired term of Stephanie Kunze, who stepped down to take a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Baker, 56, co-owner of Baker & Associates Insurance Co., was one of four candidates who applied for consideration and was interviewed Jan. 28.

He also will be one of six candidates expected to vie for four seats in the May 7 Republican primary election for Hilliard City Council. Four would advance to the general election in November, where they would be unopposed.

Baker, chairman of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, said he is looking forward to his tenure on City Council, beginning with a two-day council retreat scheduled for Feb. 22-23.

"I'll be looking at what committees I think are the best fit for me and where I'd be most productive (and) reviewing the master plan," said Baker, who was the only person nominated for appointment.

Councilman Joe Erb thanked all those who applied before nominating Baker, who was seated in the audience with other candidates who had applied.

Baker must be successful in the May 7 primary to retain his seat for the next term.

He and five other Hilliard candidates met met the Feb. 6 filing deadline at the Franklin County Board of Elections. The other primary candidates are:

* Marc Barraco, 41, communications system specialist for the Columbus Department of Public Safety.

* Les Carrier, 43, a structured settlement consultant for EPS Settlement Group.

* Brian Katz, 28, chief counsel and director of compliance for the Franklin County Auditor's Office.

* Kelly McGivern, 46, the senior director of government affairs for Aetna and the only incumbent among the group.

* Bill Uttley, 57, owner of the Columbus Appraisal and Consulting Co.

Barraco, Carrier and Uttley also applied and interviewed for Kunze's seat.

Franklin County Board of Elections officials still must certify each petition to ensure each has the required minimum 50 signatures of registered voters living in Hilliard.

No Democrat filed a petition. A Democrat last appeared on the ballot in 2009 and last served on Hilliard City Council in 1993.

Two incumbents, Jim Ashenhurst and council President Brett Sciotto, declined to seek re-election.

Other appointment decisions

In other official action Feb. 11, City Council members postponed a decision on a new appointment to the board of zoning appeals.

Sciotto said members wanted additional time to consider an appointment.

Two people applied and were interviewed Jan. 28: Mike Cope, a former council member, Norwich Township trustee and planning and zoning commission member, and Scott Movshin, who had served on Hilliard's charter review commission.

Former BZA member Barbara Rushley, whose five-year term expires Dec. 31, 2016, resigned after moving from Hilliard to Norwich Township.

Council members also confirmed two of Mayor Don Schonhardt's appointments to the Hilliard Shade Tree Commission.

J. Douglas Knaup is the horticulturist for the Ohio State University's golf courses and Thomas M. Wood owns a landscaping company in Hilliard.