Bay Village law director Ebert to serve as interim mayor

City Council President Paul Koomar and Law Director Gary Ebert at the Sept. 6 Bay Village City Council meeting. Ebert will serve as the interim mayor of the city effective Sept. 30. Photo by Denny Wendell

Bay Village City Council voted on Sept. 6 to appoint Gary Ebert as interim mayor of the city to ease the transition following Mayor Debbie Sutherland’s retirement on Sept. 30. Ebert, who has served as law director since 1986 and also spent two terms as a Ward 4 councilman, was acting mayor in 2000 when former Mayor Tom Jelepis resigned. The decision allows the city to move forward on critical projects under an experienced hand.

City Council President Paul Koomar, who is first in the line to succeed Sutherland, as laid out in the city charter, said he is still considering the position but doesn’t want to rush a decision.

“I think it’s just going to take a little time for me to work through a decision and all of the factors that go along with that,” Koomar said. “I still have some variables out there, but I think it would be a great opportunity.”

Among the projects on the city’s agenda are capital improvements, EPA mandates, the 2017 municipal budget and year-end evaluations.

A new development on the city’s agenda is the replacement of Scott Thomas, director of public service and safety, who announced his resignation on Sept. 6. Thomas has been service director since December 2013.

“I just want to make a smooth transition to move the city forward until a successor is appointed or elected,” Ebert said.

Ebert has worked with the city’s department heads and will provide continuity as Koomar works toward a determination on whether he will assume the position of mayor.

“I think Gary’s well-suited, knowing the other directors, to finish out the year,” Koomar said. “It doesn’t make any sense for me to wait until the end of September and say, ‘Well I don’t quite have things worked out.’ It’s just easier to say, ‘This is where we’re going to go.’ Then all the directors know that. They’ve worked with Gary and we’ll finish out the year on the plan. And I’m going to work closely with him on a lot of these projects and things. We’re really going to work in tandem on it. I think it will be good to get us through.”

Ebert will continue to serve as law director during this period. His salary will be increased by $500 per pay period, representing the approximate difference between his current salary and the mayor’s.

Sutherland’s term ends at the end of next year. The seat will be open in the regular municipal election in November 2017.

Read More on Bay Village
Volume 8, Issue 17, Posted 11:15 AM, 09.07.2016