Grandview Heights elections are normally pretty boring affairs, with a lot of incumbents cruising to victory and the occasional new face, but “exciting” is not an adjective that gets used.
This fall will be an election with surprising candidates, and if things keep up, it will be an exciting race.
After council president Steve Reynolds failed to file for office, it was looking like the council election might have the a bit of drama. Jagers and Koelker were also on the way out, leaving a big hole in the standard lineup. But this is not where the action is, three new candidate filed, and will be unopposed. Kearns, Papineau, and Smith have nothing in their backgrounds to shock or surprise. Panzera will start his fourth term.
This is where the action has left observers flabbergasted.
Incumbents Grant Douglass and Katie Clifford were expected to be returned to their seats without drama. The third seat, vacated by Kessler, was going to be filled by former High School principal Jesse Truett. Truitt brings his own baggage to the race, after he resigned from Grandview because of the public outing of his affair with a student while he was a teacher at Westerville. His present employment is with an organization which provides training and support for charter schools. How can we have confidence he will be working unencumbered by his belief in the advantage of charter schools?
In spite of Truitt’s negatives, he was the only person to file for the open seat, and without write-in opposition could expect to cruse to victory without needing to run a campaign.
Then the bomb dropped. Clifford made a rookie mistake in her paperwork. She was out, with no legal options for running as a write-in candidate. The race became wide open.
Three candidate filed for write-in status. There are three open seats. If the write-in hopefuls get enough votes, they can pull off an election zinger by booting Truitt, and even bring about an unprecedented loss for incumbent Douglass!
Former Grandview mayor John Leutz
Because he was mayor of the city for eight years, from 1992 to 2000, write-in candidate John Leutz has the most extensive record in the Dispatch archives. Let’s go back to the 90’s and play his greatest hits.
June, 1992: Mayor David Colley resigns after he buys a home in Marble cliff. Grandview Heights’ charter says the council president becomes mayor if the mayor resigns, but it also disqualifies public employees from becoming mayor, so Bureau of Workers’ Compensation employee Ray Degraw can’t become Mayor. Council member John Leutz is elected council president for 10 minutes, becomes the Mayor, then Degraw is re-elected to the presidency.
“In his first three weeks as Grandview Heights mayor , John Leutz has dismantled the Municipal Building’s first-floor offices to create a wheelchair-accessible council chamber and fired the top-ranking city employee. Administrative Assistant Robert Prosser, the city’s chief administrator, had fostered ill feelings with council members, department heads and members of the community, Leutz said. “
The Mayor and council fire Auditor/Clerk of Council Frank Godorhazy after 13 years in the position. Godorhazy was indicted Sept. 20 1993 on the accusation of embezzling $24,000 from the city, officials questioning whether anyone was watching over the city auditor’s office. Godorhazy is placed on probation for four years and ordered to repay the $24K to Grandview.
November 1993: Leutz wins a two year election for the unfilled portion of the Mayor’s term, then in 1995 wins a four year seat as Mayor after defeating council president Rotolo.
August 17, 1995: The “Frigidaire” Cycling Classic begins an annual series of bike races though the city.
Leutz , running for his second term as mayor , writes an apology to Grandview Heights High School after he “used swear words on three to five occasions” Sept. 18 while lecturing to government classes.
November 1999, Colleen Sexton defeats Leutz in the election. She causes controversy by firing City administrator Julie Gafford. City council members go on record calling it a “vindictive and spiteful” move without justification, but the position is at the pleasure of the mayor. The Council relationship with Sexton becomes a running battle. Anyone regret that vote to replace Leutz?
Recently retired as board secretary Sandy Kipp had a 35 year career with the school as a non-teaching employee. Although the staff at the school are represented by a union, they go to the board with hat in hand if there are any issues which need resolved (the staff had a dispute with former super Allen over credit for military service.) Electing Kipp to the board would be a sign of support for the staff at the school.
I also suspect Kipp knows where all the bodies are buried.
Not much online about Evans, just info about her photography studio. A John and Stephanie Evans recently opened the Ohio Tap Room, a growler shop that offers Ohio beer on tap.