Parma judge swears in Broadview Heights officials

by Dan Holland

Dec. 4 city council meeting

A swearing-in ceremony of Broadview Heights councilmembers and mayor by Parma Municipal Court Judge Deanna O’Donnell was held in city council chambers just prior to the Dec. 4 meeting of city council.

During the Nov. 7 election, Brian Wolf was reelected to continue representing Ward 2, while newcomer Brian Dunlap – a retired Broadview Heights firefighter – will replace longtime Ward 3 Councilperson George Stelmaschuk, who decided not to seek another term. Ward 4 council representative Robert Boldt defeated newcomer Shay Hawkins and Ward 1 council representative Tom Pavlica ran unopposed. Councilpersons Jennifer Mahnic, Glenn Goodwin and Joe Price were all reelected to council-at-large seats.

Incumbent Mayor Sam Alai, who ran unopposed, will serve a fifth consecutive term in the city.

First order of business at the meeting was the election of city council president, which was won unanimously by incumbent council president Robert Boldt. Tom Pavlica was elected council president pro tempore by a 4-3 vote of council. Councilperson Glenn Goodwin received three votes for the pro tempore position.

“To have a unanimous vote from council for the third time means a lot to me,” Boldt told The Broadview Journal. “It shows not only that my residents approve of me, which I’m appreciative of, but it also shows that councilmembers respect the decisions that were made in what we did over the last four years.”

“The election is over; Issues 25 & 26 were big, and I was glad that the residents supported me on those issues,” Boldt continued. “We’re going to move forward to make Broadview Heights a place that all residents can be proud of, and that’s my prime goal.”

Pavlica, who has served on city council for 15 years, was appreciative of being elected council president pro-tempore.

“I’ve been talking about running for the position since we learned George [Stelmaschuk] would be leaving; he obviously did a great job in the time he was here,” Pavlica told The Broadview Journal. “I look forward to the additional responsibility and working with all of my colleagues to continue the hard work that we have been doing and take it up a step to improve the city to make it even better than it is now.”

“Broadview Heights is a great place to live, and I’ve always been very proud of it,” Pavlica added. “I’m looking forward to working with Brian Dunlap as a new councilmember. I’m very grateful to my colleagues for supporting me on this.”

Dunlap told The Broadview Journal he was looking forward to his new position on city council.

“It’s going to be tough filling George Stelmaschuk’s shoes; he’s a very intelligent man and a great thinker,” said Dunlap. “We have good leadership with Bob Boldt as council president and Tom Pavlica as council president pro tem; two well-established guys with deep roots in this city.” 

“For me, it’s about getting more involvement from young people in the city and them knowing how our city government works,” Dunlap continued. “I’m very enthusiastic about the whole thing. I look forward to working with all the members of council.”

Retiring councilmember recognized

Mayor Sam Alai presented a resolution of appreciation to Stelmaschuk for his 18 years of service as a member of city council. He was elected to the Ward 3 council seat in 2005 after being urged to run by his friend Glenn Goodwin, who was mayor at the time. He has held the seat ever since and also served as council president pro-tempore for the past decade.

Stormwater issues were a major concern in Ward 3 for many years, with areas experiencing periodic flooding, according to Stelmaschuk. An $8.25 million project to alleviate flooding in a neighborhood along West Wallings Road, which includes Briarwood Drive, Echo Lane, Twin Oaks Drive and portions of West Ridge Drive, is currently underway under coordination of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. The city of Broadview Heights is also adding $1.5 million to the project for ancillary work.

“In the spring of 2006, we had the first major flood that I witnessed on council, and it was pretty severe, especially in Ward 3,” Stelmaschuk told The Broadview Journal. “Other areas of the city were hit, but it was really bad in my area along West Ridge and Briarwood.”

In response, Stelmaschuk spearheaded an effort to create a stormwater utility in the city. The utility was disbanded a few years later due to a lawsuit ruling favorable to NEORSD, Stelmaschuk explained. “Every time flooding occurred, I would go there, take photos and send them to the sewer district and rattle their cage a bit,” he said. “I think that was what got us one of our first projects. It wasn’t all me, but I was a part of it. That was my legacy in a nutshell.”

Stelmaschuk said he is proud of the fact that he always made time to meet with residents face-to-face to address concerns. “Sometimes I could help them; sometimes I couldn’t,” he said. “But I always tried my best and met with them.”

Stelmaschuk, 65, and his wife Gail plan to snowbird in Naples, Florida for the first time this winter.

“I made a lot of friends, and I hope our paths cross as we go in our different directions, because there are a lot of good people here,” said Stelmaschuk. “I always believed during my time on council that it is better to work as a team – more gets done that way.”

In other business, council approved:

  • A resolution to advertise for bids for property and casualty insurance for city employees.
  • An ordinance amending various sections of Chapter 881 of the codified ordinances regarding municipal income taxes.
  • A motion to accept the city planning commission’s Nov. 8 recommendation to grant final approval with certain stipulations to Charles “Andy” Gray of Mann Parsons Gray Architects for Phase 1 of The Fleet Team Headquarters project involving renovation of the former Vatterott College building.

Photo: Mayor Sam Alai is sworn in by Parma Municipal Court Judge Deanna O’Donnell while city councilmembers look on. Photo by Dan Holland.