Attorney Mike Schadek has announced his candidacy for Upper Arlington City Council.

Attorney Mike Schadek has announced his candidacy for Upper Arlington City Council.

Schadek led last year's initiative to overturn the city of Upper Arlington's decision to privatize trash collection services, which ultimately led to the Ohio Supreme Court striking the trash initiative from the November ballot.

Despite the protracted legal battle, Schadek says he is confident that, if elected to council, he can have a productive working relationship with fellow council members and city administration.

"I hope they realize the trash initiative was born of my passion," Schadek said. "I think they made a mistake. I did what I thought was correct and I know they did what they thought was correct. I think there's a mutual respect. Certainly, on my part, I have nothing but respect for all of them."

If elected to council, Schadek said, he will work to make city government more responsive to residents.

"As a negotiator, as an attorney, I've learned to work with a wide range of people. I think that's going to be my real strength," he said. "I'm willing to sit down with people and at least hear their opinions. I'm not saying I'm always going to agree with everybody, but at least I'm willing to sit down."

An attorney with an independent practice handling contract and personal injury cases, Schadek also publishes two real estate magazines. He and his wife, Debbie, have two sons, Jack and Sam, who attend Barrington Elementary School.

Schadek is a member of St. Agatha Parish, the Nationwide Children's Hospital development board, and the Knights of Columbus fraternal charity organization. He has also volunteered for the Upper Arlington Civic Association's annual Walk fundraiser.

Schadek said he would like to see local government do a better job of engaging citizens.

"We have such talented people in Upper Arlington. We have such a wide spectrum, too, and I think we need to involve those people more," he said. "Rather than just having council or the city administration make all the decisions, we need to increase the citizen participation."

The city can use technology better to keep residents informed and involved in ongoing issues, Schadek said.

"I want a new, overhauled Web site that's truly interactive. We can have forums where people can exchange ideas and debate issues and talk about the issues," he said. "We need a citywide database, e-mail database, where the city can contact them, get immediate feedback on council issues, council meetings. When we had the ice storm, for example, it would have been great to have a centralized way to contact all the residents."

If elected to council, Schadek also plans to focus on economic development.

"Everybody says 'economic development,' and we all want new businesses to come in, but it needs to be responsible and respectful of the residents," Schadek said. "We have a lot of vacant space that's just not being used. We need to find a way to encourage people to come in and create that commercial base."

Schadek said his business experience and community involvement will benefit council. Leading the trash initiative also proved to be valuable experience, he said.

"I met literally thousands of residents through that initiative. What that did was instill in me that this is such a special place," he said. "People want to be involved and want their voices heard."

cbournea@thisweeknews.com