Joseph Mas selected as Worthington’s vice mayor
Worthington City Council voted Jan. 4 to name 15-year city resident Joseph Mas vice mayor.
Council President Bonnie Michael said Mas, 71, will serve for a year, finishing out the term of former vice mayor Jim Lorimer, who retired at the end of 2019.
Mas’ main responsibility will be to fill in for Mayor Scott Holmes during his absence. That includes acting as judge of mayor’s court and as ceremonial head of the city during community events such as proclamations and ribbon-cuttings.
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Mas, who was scheduled to be sworn in Jan. 11, has been a trial attorney for 41 years and has occupied a multitude of positions spanning government, education and community service. He said he was intrigued when the city began accepting applications for the post of vice mayor in early November 2020.
“I think it’s just a perfect fit for this stage of things,” he said. “I have never not been involved with some community activity. When I learned that the position became open, I said ‘wow, this sounds really interesting and really cool.’”
Michael said Mas’ comprehensive community experience throughout central Ohio, coupled with his extensive law background, made him an ideal fit for the role.
“He’s been in the community for a number of years,” she said. “He has a wonderful trial experience background, and he has been very involved in many area-wide community organizations.”
“Joe Mas has the professional experience and expertise and the personal disposition that will make him an excellent public servant and representative for the city,” Councilman David Robinson said. “His well-known engagement with the wider central Ohio community will also serve to elevate the visibility of Worthington throughout the region.”
Mas was born in Havana, Cuba, and immigrated to the United States as a political refugee when he was 12 years old, according to a biography he provided to ThisWeek Worthington News. He has practiced law in Columbus since 1979 in various areas, including general civil and criminal practice, employment law, international law, real estate law, family law and corporate law, according to his resume.
Mas also has served as chairman and executive director of the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs and is currently a member on the Franklin County Board of Elections, a position he’s held since 2009.
Mas was an adjunct professor at Urbana College from 1982 to 1987, where he taught courses in law, business and marketing. He was director of Equestrian Studies at Otterbein College from 1991 to 1994.
His background in community service includes serving as chairman of Franklin County Children Services, the Ohio Hispanic Coalition and the Ohio Construction Compliance Council, vice-chairman of the Ohio Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Interpreter Services and treasurer of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation.
Mas describes himself as a “tireless advocate for the humane treatment of immigrants and refugees,” according to his bio.
“One of the topics that came up during my interview was the role of various communities,” he said. “I accepted the opportunity to talk about the importance of including seniors because of their experience … and how we hope we could contribute something to the city.”
Mas is married to the Rev. Dr. Linda Mercadante, a former Worthington Libraries board member and a current member of the city’s Community Visioning Committee. He has two adult daughters and a stepson.