Johnstown Independent

Johnstown council race

With Fagan leaving, one seat has no candidate while four seats have six

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The race for Johnstown Village Council is an unusual one this year.

Nobody filed to run for the unexpired term to which Thomas Fagan was appointed earlier this year, including Fagan.

Meanwhile, six candidates are vying for the four other at-large seats.

According to Sue Penick, the Licking County Board of Elections director, none of those candidates would be allowed to seek Fagan's seat.

Fagan, who was appointed to council in June, is not running for election in the Nov. 5 general election.

The attorney, whose practice is in Columbus, said Sept. 12 that the job has become too time-consuming.

"I had to make a decision," he said. "It's not for a lack of wanting to do it but a lack of time to really commit (to the job). Rather than go forward halfheartedly, it's in the best interest of myself and the community" to allow someone with more time to take over.

Fagan said his job as a tax attorney has required more time out of town, thus creating a situation that is taking away from trying to represent Johnstown.

He had replaced Christopher Speck, who resigned, June 18. Speck's four-year term expires Dec. 31, 2015. Anyone who wanted to complete that term would have to run for election in November. Nobody, including Fagan, filed to run for that seat.

Fagan said Sept. 12 that he would continue in his Johnstown post through the end of the year.

The deadline to file as a regular candidate was Aug. 7. Write-in candidates had until Aug. 26.

That means the existing council will have to appoint somebody in January to serve out the remainder of the term. The next municipal, or local, election will be in November 2015.

Meanwhile, four other council seats are up for election this fall and six people are running.

Incumbents Sean R. Staneart, who also is mayor, Carol Van Deest, Joyce Priest-Evans and Sharon Hendren all are seeking re-election.

Challengers are Bob Orsini and William Van Gundy.

The two countywide races elections also remain the same.

Longtime Judge Michael Higgins is running unopposed for another term as municipal court judge.

Municipal Court Clerk Marcia Phelps, a former county commissioner, is being challenged by Olivia Thorp, who is the wife of Sheriff Randy Thorp. Phelps is a Democrat, and Thorp is a Republican.

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