Grandview Heights Mayor-elect Greta Kearns is planning to make at least two major staff appointments as she prepares to take office Jan. 1.

On Election Day, Nov. 5, Kearns won against fellow City Council member Steve Reynolds in a race to replace Mayor Ray DeGraw, who will step down Dec. 31 after four terms.

Kearns won 1,560 votes (70%) to Reynolds' 677 (30%), according to final, unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections on Nov. 5.

The new mayor will take office just as two longtime city administrators are preparing to hang up their hats.

Patrick bowman, the city's director of administration/ economic development, will retire at the end of the year. Fire Chief Steve Shaner also announced his retirement earlier this year but agreed to stay on through the transition to a new mayor.

City Council on July 1 approved rehiring him as chief.

"The exact timetable for making those appointments is still in flux," Kearns said.

Other members of the administrative team also might retire soon, but those announcements have not been made, she said.

"We have a number of staff members who are eligible to retire, but it really will be up to them to decide when they want to make that announcement," DeGraw said.

"Even if people do leave, we've looked at positioning people to take over and fill in so that from a staff standpoint, we have strong staff development," he said. "I'm confident that even if we do have people leaving, we're set up for a kind of 'next person up' type of situation."

With the election in the books, the transitional period from DeGraw to Kearns is underway.

"We're very fortunate to have a mayor who's engaged and committed to having as smooth of a transition as possible and an administrative team that has the same commitment," Kearns said.

"We're doing everything we can to make it a smooth transition," DeGraw said.

That transition is made easier when the incoming mayor has served on council, he said. Like Kearns, DeGraw was council president when he first was elected mayor in 2003.

"It's helpful, I think, to have some experience on council because that gives you some knowledge and background on the city's finances," DeGraw said. "As you take office as mayor, it becomes a matter of learning about the administrative side of the city.

"Greta has six years on council, the last four as council president, so she's in a good position to transition to the mayor's office," he said. "She's meeting with and getting to know the people in each department. She has some good ideas about the direction she wants to take the city in.

"She's already hit the ground running."

One of Kearns' initial goals as mayor, she said, will be to look at how the city can "modernize," both in the work flow among city staff and by enhancing the technology they use to complete their work.

The city will hold a dedication ceremony for its new public-works building at 1260 McKinley Road at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15. The public will be able to tour the building and grounds beginning at 4 p.m.

The complex will house the building and zoning and service department offices, as well as storage for service and parks and recreation vehicles and equipment. The property also includes a sports field.

Kearns said one of the top priorities for 2020 will be to determine a plan for moving other municipal offices, including the police department, from the city building site at 1016 Grandview Ave. to the southeast corner of Goodale Boulevard and Grandview Avenue, where the service and building and zoning department and the Grandview Center now sit.

"The Civic Spaces and Places plan we've adopted identifies that parcel as being the recommended site for our municipal complex," she said. "The administration and council will be working on a public process to get to the point where we'll be able to be started on that project hopefully be this time next year."

The Grandview Center, which also houses the parks and recreation department's offices, is in need of modernizing, Kearns said.

"There are a lot of great programs and activities our community really enjoys and benefits from that are offered there," she said. "Whatever we may decide to do about that building and about the municipal offices, we want to make sure the level of services we provide our residents (is) not impacted at any time."

Election wrap

In the only other contested Tri-Village-area race on Election Day, Marble Cliff Village Council member Kendy Troiano was ousted in favor of challenger Jeff Smith, with incumbent Joanne Taylor also winning a seat.

Taylor earned 122 votes (36%) and Smith garnered 116 (35%), with Troiano taking 97 votes (29%), according to the board of elections.

In the uncontested Grandview Heights City Council race, newcomer Ryan Edwards was elected along with incumbents Emily Keller and Rebekah Hatzifotinos. Mayoral candidate Reynolds did not run for reelection.

Marble Cliff Village Council president Matt Cincione ran unopposed for mayor. He will replace Kent Studebaker, who did not run for reelection.

The Grandview Heights school board race also was uncontested, with Emily Gephart and Kevin Guse the only candidates. They will replace Debbie Brannan and Melissa Palmisciano, both of whom chose not to run for reelection.

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