Six candidates in race for three Lebanon council seats


Jeffrey Aylor

Age: 51

Education: college degree

Current Employment: Computer consultant

Political Experience: two terms, Lebanon City Council

Political Party: Republican

Description of political office: Lebanon City Council

Term of Office: 4 years

Family: married, son, deceased daughter

James A. Dearie

Age: 47

Education: law degree

Current Employment: attorney in private practice

Political Experience: One term, Lebanon City Council

Married with children

Mark Messer

Age: 31

Education: college degree

Current Employment: Self Employed

Political Experience: Four years, Lebanon City Council

Political Party: Republican

Political Office: Lebanon City Council

Term of office: Four years

Family: Married with children

Raymond Miller III

Age:63

Education: college degree

Current Employment: business owner

Political Experience: None

Political Party: Republican

Description of Political Office: Lebanon City Council

Term of office: Four years

Family: Married with children

Kevin Robbins

Age: 44

Education: college degree

Current Employment: security supervisor

Political Experience: None

Political Party: Republican

Description of political office: Lebanon City Council

Term of Office: Four years

Family: married with children

Matt Rodriguez

Age:43

Education: attended college

Current Employment: sales

Political Experience: 12 years on city council, ran for Ohio Representative

Political Party: Republican

Description of political office: Lebanon City Council

Term of Office: Four years

Family: Divorced, two children

Source: Candidates

The race for three seats on Lebanon City Council has prompted a complaint to the Ohio Elections Commission, an endorsement by the mayor and multimedia campaigns from all six candidates.

Challengers Jeff Aylor, Raymond Miller III and Kevin Robbins and incumbents Jim Dearie, Mark Messer and Matt Rodriguez are running for three seats on the seven-person council.

The annual salary for the job is $6,000.

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This week, Councilwoman Wendy Monroe, who is not running in the fall election, filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission, claiming Councilman Matt Rodriguez makes false statements in a TV commercial promoting his re-election.

Mayor Amy Brewer, who is also not running, has endorsed Dearie, Messer and Aylor, a former two-term councilman seeking a seat, rather than Rodriguez.

Robbins, Rodriguez, Aylor, Dearie, Messer have also set up Facebook pages promoting their election.

Miller has been criticized by Dearie for using paper and online versions of a free publication he distributes to Lebanon residents to further his campaign. “Indeed the owner’s candidacy has been extensively promoted in recent isues,” Dearie said in space in the Lebanon Local provided to council candidates.

“You got to love election season,” Messer said last month during a council meeting in response to questions from Rodriguez about Messer’s understanding of the council rules.

Rather than back all three council incumbents - or remain neutral - Brewer signed a letter posted on the Aylor-Dearie-Messer Facebook site urging voters to return Aylor - who served on council from 2004 to 2010- alongside Messer and Dearie.

“There has been an escalating trend of a few to conduct themselves with coercion, lead without respect, govern without ethics, and divide through misconception,” Brewer said in the letter dated last Friday.

Rodriguez protested the mayor’s endorsement letter and Monroe’s complaint.

“This is nothing more than a political mudslinging contest,” he said.

Rodriguez voted to put the five-year, 0.25 percent income tax increase issue expected to raise $1.5 million a year, on the fall ballot. But he has favored other methods, including elimination of the city’s municipal court, to free up money to fix streets or hire more firefighters.

Monroe - the only council member to vote against putting the income tax issue before voters - said she filed the state complaint against Rodriguez because “it’s just really giving the wrong impression.”

The complaint will be returned to Monroe, due to a federal court ruling declaring the state’s false statement laws unconstitutional, according to the Ohio Elections Commission. The ruling is on appeal in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rodriguez, a beverage gas salesman, predicted that if elected, Aylor would continue to have attendance problems due to job conflicts that prompted his resignation in 2010.

Aylor, a computer consultant, said he has changed jobs, reducing the need for travel. If elected, he said he would continue to listen via phone link if work kept him from making council meetings.

He promised to work for consensus, if elected, and avoid second-guessing city staff.

“My biggest concern for our city is we have good experienced leadership,”Aylor said. “We’re not responsible for day-to-day management.”

Robbins said the council needed new members ready to consider cost cutting, possibly turning over the municipal court caseload to the Warren County Court.

“We need diversity on council to challenge each other,” said Robbins, a security supervisor.

Other than Rodriguez, the current council has rejected the idea of eliminating the municipal court after study and discussion.

Messer, who runs several local businesses, said voters should elect the candidates most willing to focus on policy, rather than the day-to-day work involved in running the city.

“We need a council that serves in a mission-oriented, policy-driven board that is keen to its citizens’ needs and goals, grounded in community service and not narcissism,” he added via email.

Messer and Dearie are the only candidates who indicated they plan to vote for the 0.25 percent income tax increase for street repairs.

"Since at least 2004 when the Lebanon Citizens Financial Advisory Committee found that new revenue was necessary, the City has not had enough funds to adequately maintain its roads despite extensive cuts to the budget. If we do not now raise additional funds, it will cost our children seven times as much to rebuild the roads in the future," Dearie said in a response for the Dayton Daily News Voters Guide.

Miller is urging voters to pick him because of his business background.

"We need sound successful business people to run this city," he said in the Dayton Daily News Voters Guide.

If elected, Miller said he would add a page to his publications, summarizing council meetings and actions.

“I’m going to be the voice of the people,” he said.

Early voting has begun. The election is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

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