Johnstown Orsini joins Village Council
Johnstown Village Council on Oct. 15 voted unanimously to select Robert Orsini to fill the vacancy left by Councilman Kevin Riffe.
Orsini, 34, is scheduled to be sworn in Nov. 5, replacing Riffe, a 10-year councilman and former mayor who was re-elected in 2011. Riffe announced his immediate resignation Oct. 1 because he and his family were moving to Liberty Township.
Orsini will serve out the term, which expires Dec. 31, 2015.
"I'm excited to be able to take an active role in the growth and success of Johnstown," he said.
Orsini is a marketing manager for the Habegger Corp. He said he has worked with several different towns and contractors throughout Ohio, and he has seen towns succeed and fail. Orsini said he wants to see Johnstown grow and move forward while keeping the elements that make it a small, hometown community and respecting the village's history.
"Expansion and growth are inevitable," Orsini said. "I'm not opposed to progress. I'm in favor of it as long as it's done responsibly, planned and keeps in mind all the great things we have in Johnstown."
Other applicants for the vacated seat were Jessica Mead, Elizabeth Schwartz, David Barr, Bruce Tolle, Bill Van Gundy, Laura Smith and Rebecca Sparks.
Village Council held a closed session Oct. 15 to interview applicants for the seat.
"We had eight wonderful candidates," Councilwoman Sharon Hendren said. "They all interviewed very well."
Hendren said the fact that Orsini was campaigning this year for a seat helped him stand out.
"He had taken initiative and gotten signatures," she said. "That takes a lot of time."
This is the second time Orsini had applied for a seat on council. The first time was to fill the vacant seat of Christopher Speck, who resigned earlier this year.
Council president David Keck also said all of the candidates brought something different to the table, but he liked Orsini's small-business experience and demeanor.
"He seems to get the connection between the big picture and specific policies and actions," Keck said. "He seems to be able to put things in perspective."
Keck said he was impressed with Orsini when he first interviewed for Speck's seat and showed persistence in running for a seat.
"I see a lot of positives and a lot potential there," Keck said. "I'm looking forward to working with him."
Orsini has been a resident of Johnstown for seven years. He and his wife, Molly, have two sons.
The race for Johnstown Village Council continues to be an unusual one.
Council member Thomas Fagan, who was appointed in June to replace a resigning Christopher Speck, is not running in the Nov. 5 general election but will complete his term.
Orsini was one of six candidates who had filed for four open seats on council. With Orsini's appointment, five candidates remain in the race for four seats, and none of them is allowed to refile for Fagan's seat, though one of them could be appointed at the start of the year, after his term ends. Orsini's name still will appear on the ballot, though.
The four incumbents seeking the four open seats are Sean Staneart, who's also the mayor, Carol Van Deest, Joyce Priest-Evans and Sharon Hendren. The lone challenger is William Van Gundy.