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Five Clifton Village Council seats unfilled

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Nov. 2 election results that left the Village of Clifton with five of six Village Council seats unfilled for terms beginning Jan. 1 is being attributed to the small number of residents combined with state certification rules for office-seekers.

On the ballot were two Clifton Council races: one to fill four full, four-year terms and another to fill two unexpired terms of a year each. Only one candidate was in the running for a four-year term, incumbent Anthony Satariano Jr.; and no candidate was listed for the unexpired seats.

In a phone call this week, Clifton Mayor Alex Bieri described the situation as “unfortunate,” but not uncommon for a community the size of Clifton, which has fewer than 150 residents by recent count.

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With a small pool of potential candidates, finding enough people to run for office can be a challenge, Bieri said. Correctly filing candidate petitions with the county board of elections, or BOE, can also present difficulties, he said, adding that he was aware of a couple of potential candidates whose petitions had been rejected by the elections board.

“The BOE has told me and our clerk that it’s a common issue that small towns face,” Bieri said.
He noted that Bowersville, a village in the southeast corner of Greene County, had similar election results. With a population of about 330, Bowersville had no “valid petitions filed” for a race to fill four four-year terms and another contest to fill one unexpired term, according to the Greene County Board of Elections.

Alone in the Clifton Council races, Satariano, the owner of Clifton Mill, not surprisingly received 100% of the vote, with 16 ballots cast in his favor, two of which were absentee, according to the BOE’s unofficial results.

Bieri, who as Clifton mayor has executive powers — unlike Yellow Springs’ governing model — said he and Clifton’s solicitor, attorney Mike Mayer, of Fairborn, will be consulting with the Greene County BOE about how best to proceed. He said there are no plans to hold a special election; rather, the empty seats will be filled through a “legal” appointment process to be determined.

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