October 26, 2014

Elyria
Clear
56°F
test

Oberlin Council president won’t seek re-election

OBERLIN — City Council President Daniel Gardener has dropped his re-election bid, saying he will focus on his goal of becoming a certified financial planner.

Gardener, who earns about $7,000 in his Council job, said he spends about 30 hours a week on city business, and he needs to spend more time on his studies.

“It’s the equivalent of a law degree,” said Gardener, 41, a graduate of Oberlin College and the father of two young children, who plans to set up shop in Oberlin once he’s certified.

In the next four months, Gardener said he would continue to lead Council in its effort to find a new city manager and said he plans to work “vigorously” until his term ends Dec. 31.

“I might walk like a duck and quack like a duck, but I’m not a lame duck,” Gardener said.

The deadline to withdraw from the ballot was Thursday.

In recent weeks, there has been controversy over Council’s 4-to-3 vote to censure Councilman Tony Mealy for speaking to a newspaper about what happened in an executive session about selection of a new city manager.

Mealy contends he did not breach confidentiality when he said Councilman David Ashenhurst was the only Council member hesitant about hiring Marcia Conner, who eventually decided to stay on as city manager of Atlantic Beach, S.C.

Mealy contended Ashenhurst’s feelings were well-known after two public meetings with Conner and another finalist for city manager.

Gardener, who voted along with Ashenhurst, Charles Peterson and Eve Sandberg to censure Mealy, said controversy over the censure vote is not why he is dropping out of the race.

He said he was comfortable with the range of the 10 other candidates who filed for election, so he felt there will not be a leadership vacuum.

Five current Council members are running again: Ashenhurst, Mealy, Charles F. Peterson Jr., Ronnie J. Rimbert and Everett E. Tyree. Sandberg is working on a book and is not running for re-election.

Others seeking election in November are John F. Baumann, Shanton V. Bland, H. Scott Broadwell, David E. Sonner and Sharon Fairchild Soucy.

Meanwhile, Gardener said, Council has face-to-face meetings scheduled with two candidates for the job of city manager.

Contact Cindy Leise at 653-6250 or cleise@chroniclet.com.