Incumbents Defeated in Chester
It’s been a hard year overall, but I believe in the saying, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’”
Voters in Chester Township overwhelmingly opted for a change in leadership Tuesday when they elected two new township trustees, Ward Kinney and Mike Petruziello, by a roughly 2-to-1 margin.
Kinney, vice president of sales for IMT Corporation, was the top vote getter with 1,475, or 26.9 percent, according to final unofficial results of the Geauga County Board of Elections.
A 30-year township resident, Kinney said the community made it clear Tuesday they want a change.
“It’s about the fact that township residents weren’t getting what they wanted,” Kinney said shortly after the vote count was completed.
He said the results took him by surprise.
“I really had no idea how it was going to turn out,” Kinney said. “When we saw the results, it was pretty emotional.”
He said he hopes to focus on citizens’ advisory recommendations made to trustees a few years ago about developing long-term plans for the township.
“I’m a planner by nature, and I believe in developing a plan and executing the plan,” Kinney said. “A lot of work went into the 20/20 vision plan and I see this as an opportunity to implement that plan. Chester can thrive and be better than it has been.”
He added, “It has to be what the residents want it to be.”
The other big winner was Geauga Park District Board member Mike Petruziello, with 1,464 votes, or 26.7 percent of the unofficial results.
Petruziello ran on a platform of bringing more transparency to the way township government is run and often criticized the way trustee meetings have been conducted in recent months.
Incumbents Mike Joyce and Judy Caputo received 801 and 583 votes respectively; challenger Kathy Fadorsen received 838 votes and Mark Saric got 322, according to unofficial counts.
Joyce, who was elected in 2009, blamed his defeat on a low voter turnout.
“A 28 percent turnout didn’t help any,” Joyce said Tuesday night.
He said he was disappointed at the results.
“I’m just sorry that all the progress that has been made the past few years will stop and the township will slide back down to where it was,” Joyce said.
Caputo said she accepts the voters’ decision and will find other opportunities to serve the community.
“I’m fine with it,” Caputo said. “Both Mike and I said that if one of us would lose neither of us would have been happy being the odd man out. It’s been a hard year overall, but I believe in the saying, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’”
She added she believes the frequent critics who have targeted her during the past few years have strengthened her character.
“I thank them, because all the negativity and hatred, all the thousands of dollars and the effort they spent, have all made me a better person,” Caputo said. “I have no hatred or bear no ill will to anyone and I truly appreciate those who have gone out of their way to thank me for my service.”
She added, “I did a good job and I was able to help fix a flooding problem that’s been around for 50 years, so I’ve accomplished my main goal and I believe I’ve left the township in better shape than I found it. I respect the voters and thank them for allowing me to serve them for eight years.”
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