The Erie County Business Political Action Committee endorsed four candidates this week in the Sandusky city commission race: Dick Brady, Dennis Murray Jr., Scott Schell and Naomi Twine.
The business PAC left out one candidate: Commissioner Diedre Cole. The PAC only considered candidates whose names will appear on the ballot.
Cole is a write-in candidate. If residents want to re-elect her they will need to "place an "X" in the circle and write-in her name, "Diedre Cole."
My recommendation is for voters to place an "X" in the circle and write in "Diedre Cole" in the space provided.
Cole's write-in status makes it a greater challenge for her to get re-elected, but her nearly four years on commission make her a worthy candidate nonetheless. She was part of the successful 2010-11 city commission term, and since then she's refused to sit back silently while the current majority coalition on commission moved like a school of blind fish swimming aimlessly the last two years.
Cole fought to right the wrongheaded approach the police chief search committee took before it finally chose John Orzech to be police chief. She took enormous heat for that from other commissioners. If you're pleased Orzech is the police chief, commissioner Wes Poole and Cole are the only commissioners to thank for that.
She also has stood against the majority coalition on commission and attempted to hold city manager Nicole Ard accountable for skipping finance committee meetings, for cobbling together a 2013 city budget that did not address the city's fiscal challenges and for fouling the disciplinary and termination processes for city employees that has cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in less than two years. For city employees, getting fired by Ard seems to equal to job security.
While members of the majority coalition continue struggling to finish a performance review of Ard that was due 10 months ago, Cole submitted an exhaustive report on the deficiencies she sees that detail Ard's shortfalls and includes an action plan for improvement. Poole, who is in the middle of his first term on commission, also already completed the task, also submitting a review critical of Ard's job performance.
So here's who I will vote for Nov. 5: Dennis Murray Jr., Dick Brady and an "X" in the circle writing in "Diedre Cole" in the space provided on the ballot.
Murray is the most experienced legislator among all the candidates, having served on city commission as ex officio mayor and also two terms in Columbus as a state representative. His demeanor is patient, thoughtful and deliberate and he will serve the city well if elected. He also should be appointed ex officio mayor — again — if he wins, based on that legislative experience.