ELYRIA — For the first time in the history of the county, a county commissioner seat was empty when the commissioners held their organizational meeting Monday morning.
On Sunday, former commissioner Ted Kalo resigned from his position after being selected by the Democratic Party’s Central Committee to fill the unexpired term of former Lorain Municipal Clerk of Courts Lori Maiorana. Kalo was sworn in as clerk immediately after being selected by the committee.
On Monday, commissioners Matt Lundy and Lori Kokoski had plenty to say about Kalo.
“I can’t say enough good things about the important role he’s played on this board,” Lundy said. “I certainly have enjoyed working with Ted. I always thought his head and heart were in the right place. He’s certainly concerned for the families and businesses of Lorain County.”
Kokoski echoed Lundy.
“He’s going to be missed,” she said. “He’s done a lot of good things.”
The commissioners said it was the first time in the history of the Board of Commissioners that a seat has been open due to a commissioner resigning. Kokoski said it also was unusual for Kalo not to be in his seat.
“Ted has never missed a commissioners meeting, ever,” she said before correcting herself. “One time he missed a meeting, but it was because he was on commissioner business and he missed a meeting. It’s very unusual to not have him here.”
The Democratic Party Central Committee will be tasked with finding a replacement to fill the rest of Kalo’s unexpired term. The replacement must be picked no sooner than five days after the vacancy opens up and no later than 45 days afterward, according to Lorain County Board of Elections Director Paul Adams.
“During that time, I’m sure a lot of people will be coming forward, expressing an interest in the appointment,” Lundy said. “The county (Democratic Party) chairman, Tony Giardini, will be calling a meeting to make that appointment.”
It didn’t take long for one candidate to throw her hat in the ring.
Sharon Sweda announced her intent to seek the appointment Monday morning through a news release.
“I am excited to use my experience to help strengthen Lorain County and continue its focus upon investment and job creation,” Sweda said. “I will work with my fellow commissioners to seek greater opportunities for economic development, eliminate challenges plaguing veterans and helping families that suffer from the effects of addiction.”
Last year, Sweda ran for the Ohio Senate 13th District seat against Republican Nathan Manning and Libertarian Homer Taft. Manning won the election, receiving 53 percent of the vote, and Sweda received 44 percent.
Another potential candidate is Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka.
“I am seriously looking at it,” she said Monday evening.
A lifelong Lorain County resident, Siwierka served on Elyria City Council from 2010-11, was a Cleveland Clinic administrator for almost a decade and has been Elyria’s Safety Service Director since January 2012.
A graduate of Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, Siwierka said she has been “a career public servant” interested in continuing to serve Lorain County residents.
One person that has been rumored to be a possible candidate to fill Kalo’s spot is former state Rep. Dan Ramos, who couldn’t run for re-
election in the November general election due to being term limited.
However, Ramos put those rumors to bed Monday by saying he isn’t even considering seeking the appointment because he legally can’t. Ramos said that the Ohio Constitution prohibits him from doing so.
“No member of the General Assembly shall, during the term for which he was elected, or for one year thereafter, be appointed to any public office under this state, which office was created or the compensation of which was increased, during the term for which he was elected,” Article II, Section 4 of the state Constitution reads.
One of the last bills Ramos voted for in office granted raises to several different positions across the state, including county commissioners.
Reporter Dave O’Brien contributed to this story.
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