Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Bay Village Mayor

Term: 4 yearsSalary: $86,120Incumbent mayor Paul Koomar, who became mayor just last January, is being challenged by a current City Council member, Karen Lieske. Koomar, who had been City Council president since 2011, became mayor following the retirement last fall of former mayor Deborah Sutherland. He is currently completing Sutherland's four-year term. Lieske has served as Ward 3's member of City Council since 2012.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Candidate picture

    Paul A. Koomar Mayor of Bay Village

  • Candidate picture

    Karen Lieske Candidate for Bay Village mayor

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

What new ideas do you have to meet the challenges of the next four years? How will you implement them?

Our sewer, water and electrical infrastructure is aging. What is your approach to planning for and financing its maintenance and/or replacement?

When are regionalization and collaboration arrangements with adjoining cities appropriate?

The Building Department and inspections have been contracted out. How do you feel this approach has worked and are there other city services you would contract out in order to reduce expenses?

What is your vision of what Bay Village will be like in 10 years?

As an experienced council member, what is your management style and how will you work with City Council?

Age 57
Education B.S. in Business Administration
Current occupation Certified Public Accountant, management positions with Cleveland Clinic
Qualifications for office Sixteen years on city council, six as President. Served on all council committees, Planning, Recreation, Tree Commissions and Architectural Board of Review. Coached soccer, volleyball and softball over 15 years. Member of Kiwanis, Executive Board- Boy Scouts, Bay Presbyterian Church and Bay Men’s Club.
Campaign Phone (440) 871-6089
Email address ElectMayorKoomar@gmail.com
Reductions in State funding since 2010 have cost our city over $1 million annually. I am developing a comprehensive strategy to attract external grant dollars to Bay Village. Recent retirements in the Finance Department have provided an opportunity to restructure and improve efficiencies. Savings will be used to create a new position focusing on grants and other strategic projects for the city. Our approach is two-fold- developing relationships in the region that can assist us in identifying all funding opportunities and then systematically applying for grants to fund roads, sewers, recreation, safety and senior services.
We have aggressively cleaned sewers this year and completed capital sewer and road projects in all four wards of the city. These projects have positively impacted the residents. A long-term strategy is being developed which prioritizes two EPA mandates. This will be accomplished through modeling and engineering analysis. We are also monitoring pilot sewer projects in surrounding cities. Positive outcomes will be incorporated into our final plan. Projects will be funded from a combination of current revenue streams and grant dollars from #1 above. A last option for consideration by city council is a charge restricted for capital sewer improvements.
Safety forces of the Westshore communities have collaborated for many years on specialized training for fire and police. Our service department also collaborates with Westlake on managing the joint leaf composting facility. Collaboration should be explored where services can be improved and provided more economically at the municipal and county level. Recently Bay Village collaborated with North Olmsted to fund a full-time animal control officer (ACO). Existing resources, vehicle and equipment were pooled to operationalize the position. I’m happy to report that an ACO was hired in September. His duties include implementing a deer management plan with the police chief.

The outsourced building department (SafeBuilt) has functioned below the standards of Bay Village. SafeBuilt performs building inspections and zoning/plans review. The major concern and disappointment has been with the plans review and enforcement of the zoning code. The finished grade (foundation height) of a new home relative to surrounding neighbors is important because it can negatively affect a neighborhood. The same is true for setbacks of homes from streets. Outsourcing makes sense if you are receiving identical services more economically. I have announced plans to hire a Building Director and front office staff as Bay Village employees in 2018.
Bay Village is a city with unique characteristics and values. It’s important that we maintain the integrity of the city and its residential character while investing in our infrastructure and commercial areas. Improving our parks, walking and biking trails and residential access to Lake Erie is a priority. Our parks truly make Bay a special place.
I have a collaborative management style. Input from all perspectives builds the strongest solutions. I have communicated with the President of City Council on an ongoing basis by phone and in face to face meetings. My administration has included detailed memos in council communications providing a solid overview of plans for sewer projects. For larger capital projects, I have met directly with the Council Chairmen of the Public Improvements and Finance Committees to ensure that we are moving in a productive direction. These Chairmen have also attended multiple meetings with our service director and city engineer. Open communication is key.
Age 68
Education Master of Public Administration
Current occupation Over 20 years supervisory and management experience in higher education and local government directing multiple projects and programs simultaneously, including in housing and community development; making difficult decisions often in public eye.
Qualifications for office Member Bay Village City Council, 6 years and Bay Village Board of Education 12 years.
Campaign Phone (440) 871-3642
Email address karenlieske@yahoo.com
New ideas include creating an Operations Improvement Task Force of community leaders to do a complete examination of all aspects of Bay Village City Government. It will make recommendations on how to operate every department more efficiently and at less cost to the taxpayers. I will improve communications by videotaping meetings, hold quarterly meet and greets with residents, and revise the website. Also, I will promote expanding the Architectural Board of Review to include housing. I will explore alternatives for health care, including a consortium which was developed during my time on the school board and resulted in major savings.

Grants would be explored to conduct a plan/study of infrastructure needs. I would consider hiring someone to oversee this instead of contracting out the work. For sewers, I would conduct an Infrastructure Analysis Project to analyze the work that needs to be done, locations, costs and options for funding looking at issuing bonds or paying as we go. For water, I will continue to watch Westlake as they implement their plan to buy water from sources other than Cleveland and not pay Cleveland fees. Cleveland Water pays for repairs. For electricity, the Illuminating Company manages and finances repairs.
They are appropriate for 911 calls, recreation, parks, animal control, deer management, equipment sharing, and possibly health care. 911 calls are already handled this way. I would explore favorable options for residents to join Westlake and Rocky River’ recreation centers. Bay shares Walker Road Park with Avon Lake. Bay will share an animal control officer with North Olmsted. Bay assists with Avon Lake’s deer culling program. Purchasing with other cities in greater quantities can be explored. Exploring a consortium for health care pooling employees to have a larger group to insure may reduce costs.
I do not feel it has worked as intended and there has been a disconnect with the residents, contractors, and the City. They do not “dog” builders to get the work right. This approach does not provide the connection of residents and contractors with a department with a vested interest in Bay Village. Providing services is not about cutting costs, but about providing high level customer service to everyone. I have heard many complaints about the services. Other city services that may be contracted out could be communications, marketing, website, technology, some more routine law, and lawn mowing.

Bay Village will remain a charming residential community with housing values that continue to increase, beautiful parks, a strong school system, a new library, a new housing development at the old Shell station, an improved commercial district in eastern Bay and in the business district, no front end parking along Dover Center, an Architectural Board of Review to address new housing and major rehabilitation projects. It will continue to be one of the most desirable suburbs with residents who care about each other, know their neighbors, volunteer and hold block parties.

Consultative with a great deal of collaboration and open communication would describe my style. Decisions take into account the best interests of the employees as well as what is best for Bay. Feedback to me and the management would be encouraged to maintain morale. I will work closely with council and provide Council a memo explaining background information in the weekly packets along with supporting documentation. This is frequently missing currently. I would keep Council informed in a timely fashion of any hiring decisions, personnel issues, issues affecting the city, news released to the media, plans to hire any consultants.

VOTE411.org logo

Disclaimer:

All statements and videos are posted directly by the candidate, unedited by the League of Women Voters and do not express the views of the League. The League never supports or opposes candidates or political parties.