STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — City Council has nominated South Churchill Way resident Thomas M. Clark to the vacant Ward 3 council seat.
The choice was made on January 12 at a special board meeting. Clark was immediately sworn in after the council voted for his nomination.
The vote was not unanimous, at least not initially. Councilors Jim Kaminski and Gordon Short voted against Clark’s nomination.
However, once it became clear that Clark had enough support to win the Ward 3 seat, the council called for a second vote and both Kaminski and Short changed their votes to yes.
Kaminski told cleveland.com on Monday that Clark was a strong candidate for the councilman position and looked forward to working with him. He added, however, that too many board members over the past four years had initially been appointed rather than elected.
These council members include Clark, Kelly Kosek, Ann Roff, and former councilman Matt Patten, whom Kaminski defeated for the Ward 1 council seat in the November 2019 election. Kosek and Roff were eventually elected to full terms. of four years.
“I am advocating for a charter amendment that will improve this process and allow Strongsville voters to fill these vacancies using the electoral process,” Kaminski told cleveland.com.
Kaminski said he will present his proposed charter amendment in February. Any changes to the charter must be approved by voters.
Kaminski also said three other Ward 3 finalists — Tobey Cook, James Nixon and Christine Strunk — didn’t have a fair chance for the vacant council seat. This is because, according to board rules, the board had to vote on each nominee in the order in which they were nominated on January 6.
At the January 6 council meeting, Clark was the first nominee, followed by Cook, Nixon and Strunk.
“We had several strong candidates (who I would have liked to see given the opportunity for a roll-call vote,” Kaminski said.
Short did not return emails before this story was published.
“Far from finished”
Clark, 45, is a partner and practice leader at Direct Recruiters Inc., an employee search firm in Solon. He has worked with the company since 2015.
Previously, Clark served as Director of Project Management at Safeguard Properties Inc., a Valley View mortgage services company, and Senior Director of Materials Management at Cleveland Clinic.
In his cover letter to the council, Clark said he has lived in Ward 3 for more than 10 years with his wife, Kelly, and their son, TJ, 15, and daughter, Chloe, 13.
Clark earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from John Carroll University, where he served as president of the Hall Council on several occasions. After graduating, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army and was eventually promoted to captain.
Clark became an Army Ranger and worked several missions with the 82nd Airborne Division. He developed, implemented and oversaw the security plan for Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg, NC
Clark later served as the company’s general manager and platoon leader in Afghanistan. He coordinated efforts between various branches of the U.S. military, foreign coalition forces, and host nation personnel. Clark also led troops on combat patrols.
During his last year of military service, Clark was the Logistics Planning Officer for the Army Combined Arms Support Command Command Planning Group. On several occasions, he served as a combat logistics expert in the global war on terrorism.
“In 2011, my wife and I chose Strongsville to build our home, and we found our neighborhood, Ward 3, and our community of Strongsville to be a great choice,” Clark said in her cover letter.
Clark said since moving to Strongsville, he has volunteered in classrooms, showing students, for example, how to write resumes and prepare for job interviews.
He was also president of the Mustang Wrestling Club, which supports youth wrestling programs, and has coached youth in wrestling, softball, basketball, soccer, football, and baseball.
“My passion and desire to serve the community is far from over, and I see this opening to Strongsville City Council as another opportunity to serve and a chance to collaborate with our current City Council members,” Clark said. in his cover letter.
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