Candidates file for fall races
- Published: August 20, 2021
UPDATE (Thursday, Aug. 19):
The Greene County Board of Elections certified the final list of candidates for the fall election on Monday, Aug. 16. Two candidates for Yellow Springs School Board who filed petitions were not certified: Aïda Merhemic and Steve McQueen, both incumbents. Merhemic did not sign certain sections of the petition and McQueen did not have enough valid signatures. A longer story will appear in the Aug. 26 edition of the News.
More candidates may be vying for public office this fall than in recent years.
Last week, 20 people seeking local office filed petitions with the Greene County Board of Elections ahead of the Aug. 4 deadline.
But before their names can appear on the fall ballot, the county elections board must certify their petitions. After signatures are reviewed by election board staff, final candidates will be certified by the board at its next meeting on Monday, Aug. 16.
To run for Village Council or mayor of Yellow Springs, candidates need valid signatures from 1% of the electorate, around 33 people; those seeking a seat on the Miami Township Trustees need 25 valid signatures.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 2; early voting begins Oct. 5.
Council and mayor
In the race for Village Council, seven candidates filed petitions, with three seats in the running on the five-seat council.
All three incumbents are seeking re-election: Brain Housh, Council president; Laura Curliss; and Kevin Stokes. Housh is looking to secure a third term, having served two four-year terms; Stokes is running for a third term after serving two two-year terms; and Curliss is going for her second term, having served for two years.
Newcomers hoping to land a seat are Lindsay Burke, Issa Walker, Carmen Brown and David Scott Osterholm. Burke co-owns the INK Art Collective, a downtown tattoo studio. Walker is a local hip-hop artist and personal trainer. Brown, who also goes by the name Carmen Lee, helped revive the local human rights nonprofit, Help Us Make a Nation, or H.U.M.A.N. Osterholm serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals and was part of the most recent Village manager search committee.
The top two vote-getters will receive four-year terms, while the third-place candidate will serve a two-year term. The winners will join Lisa Kreeger and Marianne MacQueen, who are in the middle of their terms.
Council holds all executive and legislative powers in the Village. Its members appoint the Village manager, establish departments, adopt a municipal budget, appoint boards and commissions, make zoning changes and more.
While the Council race is crowded, Mayor Pam Conine is running unopposed for her office, which she has held since 2016. If re-elected, Conine would serve for four years, after voters approved a Charter change extending the term from two years.
The Yellow Springs mayor is the judicial and ceremonial head of the town. The mayor runs the local Mayor’s Court and can participate in Council deliberations.
The current stipend for both Council members and the mayor is around $8,200 annually, an amount that increases with cost of living adjustments.
Seven people have filed petitions for a seat on the Yellow Springs School Board, with three seats available on the five-member board. All terms are four years.
Incumbents Aïda Merhemic and Steve McQueen filed their petitions for re-election; School Board President Steve Conn did not.
Conn served two terms and was president for the last four years. In response to a News inquiry, Conn wrote via email that he was “anticipating some professional commitments in the next several years that would make it difficult to be on the board.”
Merhemic started on the school board in 2005. She would be seeking her fifth term. There are no term limits for school board members. McQueen is finishing his first term, having been elected in 2017.
Challengers include former longtime Village Council member Judith Hempfling; Antioch Associate Professor Luisa Bieri Rios; Amy Magnus, a retired Air Force researcher; and Dorothee Bouquet and Pamela Nicodemus, both of whom work in education.
Those elected will join sitting board members TJ Turner and Sylvia Ellison. School board members in Ohio are compensated at up to $125 per meeting, with a maximum of 24 meetings per year.
School board members set district policy, curricula and budgets, and hire a superintendent and treasurer to manage the schools.
Five candidates are hoping for a spot on the Miami Township Trustees, a three-member group whose members serve terms of four years.
Don Hollister, who is the current chair, is looking to land a second term as a trustee, while incumbent Mark Crockett did not file a petition for re-election. Crockett, who is finishing his fifth term, could not be reached by press time, but according to prior News reporting has had health issues in recent years.
Also filing petitions to run this year are Dayton Public Schools high school biology teacher Marilan Moir, Yellow Springs Planning and Zoning Administrator Denise Swinger, Dino’s Cappuccinos owner Dino Pallotta, and licensed counselor Zo Van Eaton-Meister, who also ran for trustee in 2013.
Township Trustees oversee fire and emergency medical services and are responsible for parks and recreation, zoning, cemeteries, waste disposal, maintaining roads and more.
Compensation for Miami Township Trustees is about $12,000 annually, an amount set by the state. The two winners join longtime Trustee and former Chair Chris Mucher.
In addition to competitive races for Council, Township Trustees and school board, local voters will weigh in on three tax measures.
Yellow Springs school district residents will vote on a combined 6.5-mill property tax and 0.5% income tax to build a new $35.6 million, K–12 school on East Enon Road.
Residents of Greene County will decide on a 0.25% sales tax increase to build a new $50 million, 384-bed county jail. They will also consider a renewal of a 0.25-mill, five-year levy for the maintenance of county bridges.
In addition to covering the local tax issues, the News will profile all candidates once certified.