April 23, 2014

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Two more contenders express interest in finishing Foltin’s term

Lorain Republican Party chairman, safety service director weigh in

LORAIN — The Lorain Area Republican Party chairman and city’s safety service director both said Thursday they’d be interested in filling the city’s top job, which will be left empty in August when Mayor Craig Foltin departs for a job at Cuyahoga Community College.
That brings the number of possible replacements to four — and it’s expected to increase by the time a meeting takes place with all 27 of Lorain’s voting precinct chairpersons, who will nominate and vote on an interim mayor to finish Foltin’s term, which expires at the end of the year.
The Republican Central Committee has 45 days from when Foltin turns in his letter of resignation to the committee to schedule that meeting, according to Helen Hurst, central committee chairwoman. No letter has been turned in yet, she said.
Foltin, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election, will become the executive vice president of finance and business services at Tri-C. He will earn an annual salary of $174,836, and in addition he will receive a $6,900 car allowance, according to Tri-C spokesman Dan Minnich.
In an interview with radio station WEOL 930-AM Thursday morning, Foltin said he felt good about how he’s leaving the city. He cited job growth, a reduction in the deficit, road conditions and downtown development.
“It was going to happen at the end of the year, regardless,” Foltin said.  “Then this opportunity came by, and Tri-C is a great institution.”
Safety Service Director Mike Kobylka, who serves as Foltin’s second-in-command, said Thursday he would be interested in finishing out the mayor’s term. Kobylka recently applied for the Oberlin city manager’s job, but he wasn’t one of the finalists. One of Kobylka’s assistants, Joe Arendt, has also expressed interest in replacing Foltin.
“Out of any of the reasonable candidates, I have the most operational knowledge of the city to be a suitable caretaker in terms of keeping the city moving in the right direction,” Kobylka said.
David Arredondo, the head of the Lorain Republicans, said he also might like the job, but he said whomever is chosen should be agreed upon since that person likely will be running in November.
That’s because the party likely will ask Republican mayoral candidate John Romoser to withdraw from the ballot if he isn’t chosen as Foltin’s replacement, which would allow the interim mayor to replace him on the ballot and claim incumbency.
“I think what we need to do is have a consensus with the precinct committee people so that they all feel good about who is chosen,” Arredondo said. “It’s important we have unanimous support for whomever it is.”
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.