Five city positions are on the Nov. 7 ballot in Medina, but only one race is contested. Three people are running in Ward 1 for a seat on City Council — incumbent Brian Hilberg and challengers Kevin Consiglio and Laura Parnell.
Paul Rose is running for re-election as a councilman at-large, and Mark Kolesar is unopposed for his Ward 3 seat.
Dennis Hanwell is running unopposed for mayor, as is Keith Dirham for finance director.
- Age: 30
- Education: Brunswick High School; bachelor's degree, University of Akron; attending Ashland University to obtain master's degree
- Family: wife, Brittany
- Occupation: business analyst in finance at FirstEnergy
- Age: 49
- Education: Buckeye High School
- Family: wife, Mary; daughters, Isabella and Sophia
- Occupation: owner, chef of Marie's Caf in Medina
- Age: 42
- Education: attended University of Michigan
- Family: husband, Ben Cavey; children, Alexandra and Callum
- Occupation: owner, Cool Beans Cafe
Question: What makes you the best candidate for the position?
Consiglio: “I want to move Medina forward in a positive direction. I want to generate a business-friendly atmosphere to enhance and attract business growth. I want to remain involved in the community. I want to be open and honest with residents. I want to listen to the community and make sound decisions involving policies brought before council. I want to work closely with council and the mayor for Medina’s future. I want to keep Medina a vibrant place that is attractive to young professionals and families. I want to encourage economic development, which strengthens our economy, keep the tax burden at a minimum and find alternatives to fund expenses. I want to ensure public safety for our community at parks and public places.”
Hilberg: “I’ve been part of City Council for the past five years that has operated within a reasonable and balanced budget. I’ve helped direct the city’s success for the past five years. I’ve been a small business owner for the past 12 years in Medina. I’ve got 12 years of corporate business experience with a national company. I was a former senior executive with a multimillion-dollar regional company. My modest, middle-class upbringing, coupled with past corporate and executive management experience allows me to relate well at all levels of our very diverse ward population.”
Parnell: “I want to improve infrastructure of our community, with a higher emphasis on the older neighborhoods. I want to improve the parking constraints in and around Public Square. I want to encourage smart growth of our uptown area and find incentives to bring additional businesses to our community. The challenge facing Ward 1 is communication. I am committed to hearing the concerns of my fellow residents and voicing their concerns to City Hall.”
Question: What are the biggest challenges facing your city and how would you address them?
Consiglio: “Once elected to City Council, I pledge to provide responsible and accountable governance. I want to work constructively with my council colleagues and city hall staff. I would thoroughly research issues, consulting the public before making decisions and explaining the reasoning behind decisions. Council must always remember that we serve the public and cannot take that public for granted. We need to pay attention when members of the public speak during council meetings.
“I want to be a voice on council who is willing to question the status quo when there appears to be a different, and better, way of doing things. I want to be fiscally responsible by working with city staff to find alternative methods of conducting business in order to save money.
“I want to ensure Medina is attracting new business. I want to use economic development as the engine to improve the city’s financial picture. I want to create a business-friendly environment to fill empty storefronts. I want to develop the city’s commercial properties and make Medina more of a ‘destination city,’ including restaurants and entertainment facilities. I support social and economic involvement in the community and promote a safe community and infrastructure.”
Hilberg: “I want to promote community improvement with the appearance and upkeep of our neighborhood housing, parks and other public areas. I’d like to develop a plan for a public/private partnership that is dedicated to a neighborhood improvement initiative in Ward 1.
“I want to support our property maintenance code enforcement and seek third-party assistance (community volunteers, nonprofit groups, etc.) to resolve issues for elderly or low to moderate income situations.
“I want to encourage availability of programs and opportunities for our younger and at-risk residents. I want to develop a program to allow at-risk juveniles the opportunity to learn life and trade skills while instilling a sense of responsibility, accountability and self-worth.
“I want to ensure protocol is in place to allow equal accessibility for all residents, despite socioeconomic status, to city amenities, such as Memorial Pool and the Medina Community Recreation Center.
“I want to encourage reduced revenues to continue to operate within a reasonable and balanced budget and to continue to monitor that budget for unnecessary spending.
“I support the city’s economic development efforts, especially relating to business retention. We have to pay close attention to aging infrastructure (streets, sidewalks, water, sewer) and increase efforts to seek federal and state grants to improve it. We want to maximize efforts to prioritize projects for repair and/or replacement of infrastructure.”
Parnell: “I am a passionate and involved member of the community. I have worked behind the scenes to further the goals of Main Street Medina and the city in promoting Medina and our square as a destination. My experience as a successful business owner ensures that I am fiscally responsible and have demonstrated the ability to make tough decisions while adhering to a budget.”