June 29, 2016

Mostly cloudy


Sheffield residents are being asked to vote for four representatives. There are five candidates on the ballot, including three incumbents.

What are the biggest issues facing the village?

Min: My motto in this race is “Moving Forward in 2009” because I think the most important issue for Sheffield is how we will face the future. Will we continue to employ enough safety personnel? Will we promote volunteerism in our community? Will our schools be excellent? And will we carefully manage our natural resources?
Bliss: The lack of tenants in our business park and the need for a new Service Department building are two issues facing Sheffield. The village needs to have easier access from Interstate 90 to our business park for future tenants. The current building used by the Service Department is too small for both the employees and the equipment, has very limited parking and is very close to the road.
Sheets: Money. We also have a perceived water flooding problem. Drainage is also always an issue.
Ackerman: The biggest issue facing the village is the economic crunch. People are opening businesses in the village and then going out of business. The building industry is way, way down as far as home building. Our safety forces and all of our employees have been asking for raises, and we’ve had to turn them down because the money is not there. Then there is the ever-present issue of where we are on the map. We are in the Black River watershed and some people are worried, always, about flooding.
Dugan: I believe the most important issues in Sheffield today are maintaining a balanced budget and concentrating on improving our basic services.

How do you plan to address them?

Min: Drawing on my volunteer and business experiences, I will help the Council make informed decisions as our community expands and progresses. I will use my business contacts to attract commerce: both quality retailers with long-term goals and small business owners who fit the personality of Sheffield. I will also use Internet communication — not just to promote honest and transparent government but also to identify and respond to community needs. Finally, I will support the Sheffield-Sheffield school board, teachers, and administrators in their shared quest to earn the ODE designation of “Excellent” for our schools.
Bliss: The village needs to build a tie-in road between Transportation Road and the French Creek Business Park. The Service Department building could be built on land that Sheffield currently owns using capital improvement funds.
Sheets: We passed a 0.5 percent income tax increase. We don’t know how much that’s going to bring in. We’ve had one month of collections so far. That’s really not a good indicator. You need several months to see how much money that’s going to bring in. As for drainage, we are continually addressing that problem. We are constantly cleaning ditches and that sort of thing. We’ve pretty much got a handle on that. The perceived flooding problem — I think if we have several big rains and no one floods, I think people will realize what we’ve done has helped.
Ackerman: Everyone has to tighten their belts. Every department has to stay within their budgets and do that very, very carefully. They have to do that responsibly. They have to be proactive in sticking to the budget. I just hope that everything in the economic picture will right itself soon and certainly welcome any new businesses that would be viable and would be able to come in. We have to be thinking about our future. We especially need businesses that have a proven track record.
Dugan: I would deal with the budget issue by targeting unnecessary spending and opposing what I feel does not directly support the health, safety and welfare of Sheffield residents. I will also work with department heads to aggressively cut spending to stay within their budgets. I have supported and will continue to support the mayor and his administration when they’ve made the tough decisions to cut spending and concentrate on the basic services like repairing roads, sewers and water mains. I also strongly support our safety forces, the police and fire departments.

What makes you best suited for the job?

Min: I have always participated in events and organizations for the benefit of others. Anyone who meets me will be struck by my passion for my family and our home. I aim to visit as many residents of Sheffield as possible before Election Day so they can personally judge my enthusiasm for leading our community.
Bliss: I took a political science course in college and became interested in local government. Since that time, I have regularly attended Sheffield Village Council meetings for five years.
Sheets: I’ve been around long enough to know what works and what doesn’t work.
Ackerman: I think it’s because my family has lived in this village for five generations and so I feel that we have a heritage investment here. I would like only to have good things happen to our village.
Dugan: With more than 30 years’ experience in the public sector in a variety of roles and with a variety of responsibilities, I have developed a unique mix of skills and perspectives. Working for a city in various construction fields for over 20 years, I know the challenges of the employees and the inside working of municipal departments. As a project manager for over five years, I’ve successfully completed numerous multimillion-dollar projects on time and under budget. More than 11 years on Village Council has taught me to recognize the important issues and how to work with people to move the village forward.

Jean Ackerman
Education: Bachelor of science in nursing from St. John College (now Ursuline College)
Family: Widowed, 11 children, 15 grandchildren
Job history: Retired registered nurse with Cleveland Clinic, St. Joseph Hospital in Lorain and Community Health Partners; current member of Village Council

Matthew Bliss
Education: Graduate of Brookside High School, graduate of Lorain County Community College with an associate’s degree in accounting
Family: Single
Job history: Busboy/server at Amber Oaks Restaurant, light assembly worker at Parker Hannifin, associate with Road and Rail Services

Edward Dugan
Education: Bachelor of science from the University of Akron, associate’s degree from Lorain County Community College
Family: Married with two children
Job history: Project manager with the city of Lakewood and current member of Village Council

Walter Min
Education: The Kamehameha Schools — Honolulu, Hawaii; University of New Mexico for a bachelor’s degree in health science
Family: Married with three children
Job history: Owner, American Medical Sales; co-owner FAAST, Inc.; licensed Realtor

Leo Sheets
Political party: Nonpartisan race
Education: High school graduate
Family: Married with 3 children
Job history: Current member of Village Council, retired from U.S. Steel, formerly worked with the Fire Department and served as fire chief, former village administrator