The two candidates vying for a three-year term on Upper Arlington City Council are making the final push in a campaign that will afford them just 53 days to garner votes.

The two candidates vying for a three-year term on Upper Arlington City Council are making the final push in a campaign that will afford them just 53 days to garner votes.

Local voters will decide Nov. 8 between Omar Ganoom or Susan M. Ralph to fill the remainder of a term Mike Schadek was elected to just last fall, but that was vacated when he resigned in March to become Columbus' assistant development director.

Ralph was appointed to the seat in May and intended to seek reappointment at the outset of 2017. But those plans changed when Ganoom successfully argued to the Ohio Supreme Court that the Upper Arlington electorate -- not its council members -- must determine who should serve out the last three years of Schadek's term.

Ralph, 64, has two daughters and has lived in UA for 54 years. She has an English degree from Ohio State University, and listed her notable work experience as including her current membership on council, as well as a stint as the former executive director of the Upper Arlington Community Foundation.

Ralph previously has served as president and trustee of the Upper Arlington Education Foundation, an Upper Arlington Public Library trustee and a bank officer and manager. She added that she has "decades of experience in school and community leadership."

Ganoom, 61, is married and has two children. He has lived in UA for 14 years, was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, and has a bachelor of arts degree in political science and master's degree in public administration, both from OSU.

He also has four securities licenses, and said he is currently a public finance banker with 35 years of experience in private- and public-sector work, including as deputy director for the Ohio Treasurer's Office and budget director for the city of New Haven, Connecticut.

Additionally, Ganoom said he has been a managing director for "numerous broker-dealers, raising capital for counties, cities and schools."

ThisWeek Upper Arlington News posed three questions to the candidates:

* How will you seek to improve communications and relationships between residents and the city's leadership?

Ganoom: We can improve communication by: No. 1, having complete transparency during the legislative process; No. 2, providing inclusion with our citizens; No. 3, listening to the needs of the community and providing conscientious dialogue with the public and their government.

Ralph: Improving communication and trust in our city government is the main reason I applied for the vacancy last spring. We must be better listeners, better collaborators, with our citizens.

First, we must strive for constructive, meaningful, civil and honest dialogue, in real-time with transparency and accountability. Together we will also create new ways to share information on our city's website, provide more opportunities for citizens to view council meetings and develop new opportunities for citizens to share ideas, concerns and suggestions.

These advances will result in greater trust, improved efficiency, superior outcomes and revitalized community spirit.

* Are you in favor of Upper Arlington maintaining management of its in-house 911 dispatching system, or do you support outsourcing those services to another jurisdiction, such as the city of Columbus or city of Dublin? Explain your position.

Ralph: Ideally, in-house is best and it is my first choice. I am devoted to making sure that we maintain exceptional emergency services in UA. But, technology forces us to look at rising costs, legal standards and how best UA can continue to meet the expectations of our residents. All review and analysis of our emergency system must be comprehensive, adaptable, consider changing technology and make sure that our community priorities and values are represented by the person answering our 911 calls.

Ganoom: I am in favor of maintaining the in-house 911 system because public safety is a critical service delivery of government. Outsourcing this service would have to be better, or at the very minimum, have to meet that criteria, which I believe (it) does not.

* Why are you the best qualified candidate to fill this city council seat?

Ganoom: Upper Arlington is a landlocked community that faces very serious financial challenges moving ahead. I have extensive experience in finance and administration from an operational and infrastructure point of view, which has been my life.

The city will benefit from this expertise.

Ralph: Through decades of service to UA, I have developed a reputation of being an inclusive, fair, honest, trustworthy and hardworking leader. I have a proven track record of inspiring through vision, bringing people together, listening, finding common ground and accomplishing goals.

My experience in strategic planning, budgeting and management prepares me for strong financial stewardship.

I will serve with humility, integrity, experience, good judgement, collaboration and an innovative spirit.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate