Eleven apply to fill vacant Kent City Council seat

By Thomas Gallick | Staff Writer Published:

Eleven Kent residents filed applications to vie for the open Kent City Council seat by the Tuesday deadline.

Former Councilman Robin Turner resigned from his at-large council seat at the end of October in order to retire as a public employee. Kent City Council will interview the 11 applicants for Turner's seat and vote on Turner's successor at its Nov. 28 meeting.

The candidates for the open seat are:

David Basista, project manager at engineering and technical consulting firm URS Corp. Basista, who listed no political affiliation, said he had no prior public office experience, but was "eager to bring a fresh perspective" to council.

Sean Buchanan, an attorney who previously worked as counsel for U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan's office. Buchanan, a Democrat, finished as runner-up the last time Kent City Council voted to fill a vacancy in February.

Doria Daniels, owner and property manager at Eli Daniels Properties. Daniels, an independent, has served on multiple city and county boards and commissions and is the former president of Habitat for Humanity of Portage County.

John Ferlito, the city of Kent's former health commissioner. Ferlito, an independent, retired from the city in 2011 after serving 25 years as the city's health commissioner.

Scott J. Flynn, an attorney at the Kent law firm Flynn Keith and Flynn. An independent, Flynn has served on the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kent Historical Society's boards.

Michael A. Giulitto, an attorney. Giulitto, a Democrat, listed no related experience on his application but stated he wanted to "serve the public."

Paulette "Polly" Kordinak, a real estate sales representative at Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. Kordinak, a Democrat, has served on committees within the city's Community Development Department.

Melissa M. Long, a planning commissioner for the city of Kent. Long, a Democrat and the former mayor of Cortland, lost a close election to Ward 1 Councilman Garret Ferrara in November 2011.

Devan L. Martin, a Kent State University student and IV admixture. Martin, who listed no party affiliation, wrote "I would be an excellent addition to council as I would add a different perspective on certain issues being a young college student and resident of Kent."

Leighann K. Poplaski, attorney and judicial law clerk for the Ninth District Court of Appeals. Poplaski, a Democrat, has served as the co-chair of the Mid-Ohio Foodbank's Kitchen Cabinet.

Linda UmBayemake, CEO of counseling service Lumbay 6. UmBayemake, who listed no party affiliation, serves on the Portage County National Alliance on Mental Illness and Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority boards.

Seventeen Kent residents applied the last time the city had an open at-large council seat, after former Councilman Erik Valenta resigned prior to moving to North Carolina. Council appointed Roger Sidoti, former principal of Theodore Roosevelt High School, to Valenta's seat.

Long applied in February, but was disqualified due to a 1995 amendment to Kent's charter that excluded Kent Planning Commission members from being employed by the city until six months after they left the board. Long currently serves on the Kent Planning Commission and the city has not changed that section of the charter disqualifying her since she last sought a seat on Kent City Council.

Long could not be reached for comment before press time Tuesday.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or tgallick@recordpub.com

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