Voters will see contested races for Pickerington City Council, Pickerington school board and Violet Township fiscal officer when they go to the polls this fall.
According to information provided by the Fairfield County Board of Elections, seven candidates will run for three seats on Pickerington City Council.
A notable departure will be council President Mike Sabatino, who is in the final year of his third term and has served on council on and off since 1986.
Sabatino first was appointed to council in 1986 by then-Mayor Tom Burkhart. He held the seat through that year and then left council until he again was appointed in 2003 by then-Mayor Lou Postage.
He won his first council election in November 2005. He lost a reelection bid in November 2009 but then was elected to his second four-year term in November 2011 and won a reelection bid in November 2015.
“I’ve got some health issues I’ve got to deal with,” Sabatino said. “So I’m not going to run this time.”
Sabatino said those issues will require a hospital stay during the stretch run of what would’ve been a reelection campaign, and he didn’t think he could commit fully to his wellness or the campaign had he sought another term this fall.
“If I was to campaign, I just wouldn’t have the time to deal with everything,” he said. “There wouldn’t have been enough time to do everything I need to do to campaign.”
Another council member who won’t be back is Jerry Dailey, who was appointed to council in 2014 by Mayor Lee Gray.
Dailey was elected to a four-year term in November 2015.
He didn’t respond to emails seeking comment and couldn’t be reached by ThisWeek Pickerington Times-Sun through a fellow council member.
In addition to the seven running for three council seats, Jaclyn Rohaly will run uncontested for a seat formerly held by Jeff Fix.
Fix left council in January after being elected as a Fairfield County commissioner, and Gray appointed Rohaly to the vacant seat in February.
Barring a write-in challenge or certification disqualification by the board of elections, Rohaly will serve the remaining two years of Fix’s term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2021.
Crystal Hicks, who was appointed to fill former council member Melissa Wilde’s seat in June 2018, will seek to retain her seat with a full four-year term. Wilde’s term would have expired Dec. 31, 2019.
For Pickerington school board, five candidates have filed to run for two open seats.
Board President Michelle Waterhouse will not be reelected after opting not to run this fall.
Waterhouse is in the final year of her first term on the board after being elected in November 2015.
“I’m thankful for the experience and opportunity to serve on the school board,” she said. “I didn’t come to the board with an agenda. I just wanted to serve our community and also give back to this district because it provided a wonderful education for both of our kids.”
Waterhouse said she thinks her business and human-resources skills have helped the board and district over the past four years, but she’s ready to focus her time and energy elsewhere.
“Being a member of the board of education is a big-time commitment,” she said. “When I ran in 2015, I thought it was only two meetings a month.
“Thankfully, we had two kids in college for the majority of the time I have been on the board, so I had the extra time to commit to board meetings, board meeting preparation, committee work, parent, student (and) community members’ questions, emails and phone calls, special events and activities.”
Waterhouse said she gave her all to the position but has taken on increased responsibilities at her job in the private sector and “was unable to commit to signing up for four more years.”
“There is a really good team in place right now, and they are a pleasure to work with. I’ll miss the people,” she said. “I’ll be looking for another volunteer opportunity at the beginning of the year.”
In Violet Township, four candidates will vie for township fiscal officer. However, current fiscal officer Brian Sauer isn’t among them.
Sauer, a former Pickerington City Council member, was appointed as township fiscal officer in March 2014. The appointment continued to March 31, 2016, and in November 2015, he was reelected to a four-year term.
Sauer said he chose not to run this fall because of plans to spend more time with his family and attend his children's sporting events. He said his 12-year-old son, AJ, and his 9-year-old daughter, Anna, both are involved in extracurricular activities.
"My kids are getting a little bit older," Sauer said. "My son does club soccer, and my daughter does competitive gymnastics.
"It's just something I felt where it was probably time to move on and let someone with a little more time take over the job. I've served Pickerington and Violet Township since 2007. It's been an honor. It's a great community. I grew up here, and I love it. It's been a pleasure to give something back."
His current term expires March 31, 2020.
Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray and Violet Township trustee Darrin Monhollen filed reelection petitions for their respective offices and thus far are unopposed.
The filing deadline with the Fairfield County Board of Elections for the Nov. 5 general election was 4 p.m. Aug. 7. The deadline for write-in candidates is Aug. 26.
All candidates and issues must be certified by the elections board by Aug. 27.
Military and overseas voting begins Sept. 20; early in-person and absentee voting for others begins Oct. 8.
The following races will be on the ballot in Pickerington and Violet Township:
Incumbent: Lee Gray (unopposed)
Pickerington City Council (nonpartisan for three four-year seats)
Incumbent: Crystal Hicks
Challengers: Nicholas Derksen, Kevin Kemper, Jay JohnSamuel, Yolanda Owens, William Reed, Brian Wisniewski
Incumbents not running: Jerry Dailey, Mike Sabatino
Pickerington school board (nonpartisan for two four-year seats)
Incumbents: Keith Kristoff
Challengers: Christian Johnson, Cathy Olshefski, Tezlyn Reardon, Barry Sutherland
Incumbents not running: Michelle Waterhouse
Violet Township fiscal officer (four-year term serving April 1, 2020-March 31, 2024)
Challengers: Jennifer Clemens, Daniel Griscom, Vanessa Niekamp, Peggy Portier
Incumbents not running: Brian Sauer
Violet Township trustee
Incumbent: Darrin Monhollen (unopposed)