MINGO JUNCTION - Four candidates in the Nov. 5 general election are seeking two seats on Village Council.
Incumbent Councilman John "Wiz" Fabian, 81, of 100 Paulman Circle has a public service record that includes 25 years as a Steubenville Township trustee, eight years as Mingo Junction mayor and six years as a Mingo councilman. He also is a former board member of the Brooke, Hancock, Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, current delegate to the county's regional planning commission and member of the county's health board.
"I believe that my elected public office experience qualifies me to be an effective member of council," Fabian said. "I care about the present and the future of our village that we call home. I am asking for the voters of Mingo Junction to re-elect me, once again, to serve as their council representative."
Fabian said his goals include working with the other elected members to provide the best possible services that village's financial condition permits.
"I will continue to cooperate with the business association in its quest to attract new businesses to our community. I will continue to support the Mingo Revitalization Committee in its actions to make our town the best it can be. Their volunteer program this past year has been outstanding," he said.
Fabian said the greatest challenge facing the village is its financial condition.
"It is easy to govern when the cash is flowing. We must become true leaders who find ways to govern effectively when times are tough," he said.
George Irvin Jr., 29, of 310 Logan Ave. is a teacher at the Jefferson County Christian School. He also has served as a visiting preacher, most recently, at the LaBelle View Church of Christ in Steubenville and the First Church of Christ in Newell, where he also oversaw a youth group.
He is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, with a bachelor's degree in economics and he minored in history, marketing and mathematics
"While I have yet to serve in such a capacity (as councilman), I am very well qualified," he said. I have been attending council meetings for the past three years to keep myself informed of the various issues facing our village. My educational background also benefits me. Having a degree in economics, I have an understanding of business, economic development and unintended consequences of which this council has a glaring need. By nature, I am analytical and thorough. These qualities are quite important to anyone involved in public service, especially in present-day Mingo Junction, where every decision is a potentially a big decision."
Irvin said the village is presently at a crossroads.
"While Mingo's image is currently mired by the loss of the mill and the decay of the buildings that once lined a lively area, the village has many great assets" he said. "Mingo needs leaders who will be able and willing to guide and direct it to the best of their ability in reference to their civic virtue and love for Mingo. I promise that, if elected, I will give all I can to this great village."
His top goals include the preservation of current services.
"While Mingo is in terrible financial shape, merely cutting services and budgets is insufficient and destructive. We need to have leaders who will actively seek funds for our community. In addition to the seeking of additional funds, we need leaders who will plan into the future when allocating funds and budgeting for services."
Business development is another goal.
"Mingo has many great assets. Its people are its largest and greatest. Mingo has some marketable characteristics. Council needs to work together with other area business development organizations. How can we work together if there is no communication?"
Irvin wants council to be decisive and transparent.
"There is a lack of communication and surplus of politicking. No one wants to be the 'bad guy.' When no one is willing to make a tough decision, no decision gets made. Who suffers? All of Mingo, while a few people get to save face in the public eye. Negligence is an offensive action with a stench that permeates the council's chambers. Transparency is also key. Council has been working on being more open lately, but there needs to be more work on this."
Irvin said he will work to improve the financial condition of the village by opening a dialog with neighboring communities to see about working together on a few things and seeing if there are ways to cut costs in that manner. He also said he is willing to take classes to learn how to write applications for grants.
Irvin said he will work to open a dialog with the unions to find ways to employ the greatest number of people in the most useful of ways.
"Another way to trim some of the costs would be making councilmen be unpaid. I see no possible reason for councilmen to take money from the village when they can not even afford to keep the lights on. I pledge to bring a motion to make the councilmen unpaid positions in the village."
Adam Peeler, 35, of 307 Carlisle Ave., has a bachelor's degree in biology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Has more than 10 years of professional research sales experience and currently manages a $1.1 million territory. He owns and operates multiple businesses in Jefferson County.
"As a lifelong resident of Mingo Junction and homeowner in this great community, I understand the concerns of the people living here," Peeler said. "I have attended council meetings on a regular basis over the past couple years to help familiarize myself with the condition of the village, as well as the expectations and responsibilities that come as being a member of council. I believe the combination of my education, experience and genuine desire to see this community thrive are what qualify me to be a member of council.
"I understand the current financial condition of this village makes the role of councilman more important than ever. I'm asking for votes with the promise of bringing a level-headed, common-sense approach to both the issues and opportunities encountered by the village."
One goal is to promote transparency and participation within the village.
"The hard times we are facing have spurred a new spirit of interest and volunteerism. While many have become discouraged by the situation in our town, there's many of us who consider it a call to action. I hope to encourage more people to get involved and even take time to attend council meetings to learn why certain decisions are made. If elected, I would always welcome questions and suggestions from the citizens I represent."
Peeler said another goal would be to bring a proactive approach to council.
His third goal is to support the efforts of village employees. "While budgets are tight, we must do our best to work together and ensure each department has the basic resources to perform their job while operating as efficiently as possible.
"If elected, I would handle the financial condition of the village with extreme caution, creativity and optimism. I would work to make sure the citizens understand the severity of our situation and what consequences we could be facing if some things don't change. There are several aspects of the village that need to be looked at and streamlined.
"While the problems of this town are many, I believe there's brighter days ahead of us. If elected, I would work hard to serve the community with integrity and always operate with the betterment of Mingo in mind. Let's start working together in this town and put Mingo back on the map," Peeler said.
Andy Strohmeyer, 24, of 506 Logan Ave. is another newcomer seeking election as a councilman.
"I am qualified to be a member of council because I'm young and full of ideas to help the village," he said. "I work with people everyday, so I will listen to every idea you have."
Strohmeyer said he is running to get the village's finances back in the black and to get more businesses in the town, such as a grocery store and gas station in the downtown area, so residents don't have to drive to Steubenville for food and gas, especially senior citizens.
He said the village, even with its financial condition, needs to keep workers for services for residents.
"I would handle the financial condition by cutting down on overtime and cutting stuff that we don't need to spend money on," he said.
Strohmeyer said one of his goals if elected is to not lay off anymore village employees.
"We can't afford it," he said.
He also said there are a lot of grants the village should be making applications to receive. He said the village also should be enforcing and collecting fines.
"If I'm elected, I will work for the citizens of Mingo Junction and be a public servant," he said.