So, who is it going to be?
Who will be the next mayor of Lima?
It didn’t take long for “the question” to pop up after David Berger announced Wednesday morning this would be his final term in office, bringing to close a career that will see him having served 32 years as Lima’s chief executive officer.
People seemed to agree it is way too early to speculate on a possible successor, yet they went on to speculate anyway.
That’s how local politics works. There are no rules when it comes to political speculation. The people being mentioned may or may not even be interested in the job.
That said it wasn’t surprising that the names we heard most often were all people currently involved in city government. They include:
• Peggy Ehora: If voters are looking for a cheerleader for Lima, they have one here. The first-term councilor is always ready to go to war with anyone who knocks her city. She’s been actively involved in various boards in the community, including the Lima School board.
• Derry Glenn: The 6th Ward councilman has a heart of gold when it comes to his love for the people who call Lima their home. He’s been known to hand out turkeys to those in need during Thanksgiving. He’s run before for mayor, but he’s never come close to winning. Then again, no one ever came close to beating Berger.
• John Nixon: As the president of Lima City Council the past 13 years, his name is one of the first that comes up as a successor to Berger. There probably was a time the job would be of interest to Nixon. But he’s now the plant manager at Nickles Bakery, where he’s worked for nearly 40 years. The guess here is that he’s more apt to retire than to seek the mayor’s post.
• Sharetta Smith: Some folks will argue that Berger has been grooming his chief of staff to one day become mayor. She’s a relatively new to city government, which could work in her favor for voters seeking someone with new ideas.
You can bet that list is going to grow in the months ahead. The only thing that can be said for certain is that whoever is the next mayor will have a mighty big job ahead of them.
Berger was a dreamer who never ran out of fresh ideas.
While he never got his high-speed rail or his global energy plant, he did manage to save the Lima Refinery, played a big role in keeping the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center off the BRAC list, and put a stamp on the downtown development we’re seeing today.
The mayor gives a lot of the credit to his administrative team, which includes long-timers Howard Elstro in public works, Steve Cleaves in finance and Mike Caprella in utilities. No doubt they also will be retiring in the months ahead.
We’re not naive enough to believe that someone is irreplaceable. There are always quality people ready to take over any job.
On the same token, we are reminded of what they say in sports circles: You don’t want to be the person replacing a legendary coach. You want to be the person who replaces the person who took over for the legend.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.