When 2020 begins, three new Bexley City Council members and two new Bexley Board of Education members will be sworn in.
At the council's and the school board's final meetings of the year in December, outgoing members reflected on their tenures.
On council, incumbents Steve Keyes and Tim Madison did not seek reelection, and another incumbent, Mary Gottesman, was not successful in her reelection bid. Incumbent Troy Markham won reelection and new members Matt Klingler, Jen Robinson and Jessica Saad were elected.
On the school board, incumbent Mike Denison was not reelected, and another incumbent, Melissa Lacroix, didn't run for reelection. New members Alissha Mitchell and Victoria Powers were elected.
At council's final 2019 meeting Dec. 10, Gottesman, Keyes and Madison cited the accomplishments they said they're most proud of while serving.
Gottesman was elected in 2015 and served as chairwoman of council's strategic and service committees. She said one highlight of her tenure was heading up the city's Community Health Action Team and holding focus groups with residents of various demographics to help the city to identify strategies for maintaining and improving residents' health and well-being.
"The biggest thing that I learned from that was that many residents did not feel included and valued in our community, and those reasons were widely varied," Gottesman said.
"The issues people raised were almost always around mental well-being, and mental well-being is the most important element of a long and healthy life, especially for seniors. So we need to keep this in mind going forward when we're building new programming, new opportunities."
Madison was elected in 2011, was reelected in 2015 and served as council president and chairman of the finance and strategic committees.
He cited as accomplishments during his tenure the formation of the Community Improvement Corp., a nonprofit organization that promotes citywide development; passing an ordinance that bans discrimination in Bexley, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; a resolution welcoming everyone of all ethnicities, faiths and backgrounds to the city; and a resolution urging the state legislature to adopt "reasonable" gun-control laws.
"Many of my ideas to help Bexley were implemented in the past years," Madison said.
He said those ideas that have been implemented include "the Bexley Blast (weekly email newsletter); the Alternative Revenue Task Force; the allocation of city funds to hire additional police officers; posting the council agenda on the various Bexley Facebook pages; a city council intern; a quarterly meeting with the mayor, Bexley schools, police, recreation and library; and council and committee goals, which we discussed every six months while I was president."
Keyes was elected in 2011, was reelected in 2015 and served as chairman of council's finance and zoning and development committees.
Accomplishments he cited include involvement in the city's adoption of a long-term plan to generate $30 million in funding for sewer and water infrastructure improvements; relocating City Hall to the Bexley Square Shopping Center and the opening of the Giant Eagle Market District store on the site of the former City Hall at 2250 E. Main St.; and redevelopment initiatives in the Ferndale Place/Mayfield Place in southwest Bexley, as well as the city's nondiscrimination ordinance.
Keyes advised incoming council members to focus on big-picture goals, such as the expansion of Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave., that is slated to begin in 2020.
"That's a great example of a future big thing that could make a lasting difference for many, many decades," he said. "Focus on the big things. Don't sweat the tiny, tiny things that aren't going to make that much of a difference."
Mike Denison was elected to Bexley's school board in 2011 and was reelected in 2015. Accomplishments during his tenure that he cited included the board hiring Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller and treasurer Kyle Smith in 2017 and the district's completion of its strategic plan in 2018.
"I leave the board feeling the district does now does have a clear direction," Denison said, "and I'm proud of the role I played in setting that course."
Lacroix was elected to the board in 2011, was reelected in 2015 and previously served as the board's president.
She said the district's accomplishments that she is most proud of during her tenure include creating the position of director of student and community engagement to address students' nonacademic barriers to success; the adoption of gender identity and expression and nondiscrimination policies; moving sixth grade from the elementary schools to Bexley Middle School; hiring Miller and Smith; and completing the district's strategic plan.
"We have seen such change in the last 10 years we have served," Lacroix said.
"Despite the high academic performance of our district, it was our collective determination to improve our excellent school district by acknowledging the challenges we face that makes me the most proud of us."