When he stepped into the job of Summit County executive in 2007, Russ Pry took on a larger, more complicated and more visible role. The former Summit County Democratic Party chairman, Boston Heights law director and Mogadore City Council member quickly learned the job, repaired frayed relations with the County Council, kept a close eye on spending and moved forward on major economic development projects such as the Goodyear headquarters and Bridgestone technical center.

Voters recognized the steady approach, in 2008, electing Pry to a full, four-year term. He is now running for a second full term, pointing to a well-established record of rebuilding trust within county government and making the county a major player in economic development, cooperating with governments, businesses and development agencies such as the port authority.

We recommend the re-election of Russ Pry on Nov. 6.

Plenty of challenges lie ahead. Pry sees a soft landing for the county budget, with no need to dip into reserve or rainy day funds by 2014. As it is, general fund spending has been cut by $15 million, the county now with 500 fewer employees.

Pry is negotiating with the sheriff’s office and mental health agencies to improve psychiatric services for jail inmates, looking for a better place for repeat offenders in the system. He hopes to build on the success of cooperative ventures with local governments. His next goals are to consolidate 17 emergency dispatching centers and craft a countywide storm water management plan.

Pry correctly points to the challenge of getting the many parts of county government working together. What he must keep in mind is the need for assertive leadership, the executive’s office taking the point position in finding solutions.

Pry’s opponent is Frank Larson, the Republican mayor of Munroe Falls since 2003. Then a school bus driver with no political experience, Larson addressed discontent over the city’s effort to reduce its income tax credit.

Since then, Larson has stabilized the city’s budget, generating new revenue, restoring cuts, expanding services. He argues that he would bring a more aggressive approach to fiscal management, seeing the county’s need to dip into its budget reserve as a sign that Pry did not move fast enough. Larson also delivers a sharp critique of recent hires that favored the politically connected.

What he does not offer is a comprehensive vision for the county. His criticisms fall far short of a good argument for removing Pry from a job he has performed so ably.