STOW — John Pribonic isn't waiting to start tackling the goals he's set for himself as Stow's new mayor.
Pribonic, who was sworn in Nov. 30 after the Summit County Board of Elections certified the general election results, shared his enthusiasm about the work ahead at his ceremonial installation during Thursday's City Council meeting.
"I'd like everyone in Stow to know that I and the administration have hit the ground running," Pribonic said. "As we ring in the new year, I want our residents to be energized. … I can promise you that you will be happy about what 2019 has to bring."
The Rev. Paul Rosing of Holy Family Catholic Church gave the invocation and benediction Thursday, and Ohio 9th District Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Teodosio administered the oath of office. Dozens of family members, friends and community members joined in a standing ovation for Pribonic.
"I know we prayed that he give us wise and intelligent leadership, but he's done that his whole career," Teodosio said.
Pribonic, 57, ran unopposed in the November election for an unexpired term that lasts through the end of next year. Stow voters will vote for mayor again next November.
Pribonic said Thursday he wants to continue focusing on identifying and developing a downtown area in Stow; improving the city’s collaboration with neighboring cities, the school system, local businesses and civic organizations; and improving communication between the city and its residents.
Pribonic served on City Council for almost 11 years, most recently as an at-large representative, and previously served on the Stow-Munroe Falls school board for six years. He grew up in Cuyahoga Falls and has lived in Stow for 28 years. The married father of two recently retired from Acme Fresh Market, where he worked for 42 years, most recently as store director.
James Costello, 70, had been interim mayor since May after former Mayor Sara Kline, who was first elected in 2011, resigned in May to take a job as superintendent of the Cuyahoga Falls Parks and Recreation Department.
Costello now returns to Stow City Council. He'll represent Ward 2, as he had for 15 years before becoming interim mayor. Doug Herchick, whom council appointed in May, had been the interim Ward 2 representative.
Costello told the Stow Sentry he is eyeing a move to the at-large council seat Pribonic vacated when he became mayor. Herchick told the Sentry he would be interested in continuing to represent Ward 2.
Stow City Council President Matt Riehl announced the process to fill the vacant at-large seat, which represents all four Stow wards.
Applicants must have been Stow residents for at least two years prior to the date of their election and remain residents during their term, according to the city's charter.
Current council members will review the applications. Each member can select one applicant for council to interview, which will likely be Dec. 28, Riehl said.
A majority of council has to vote to appoint someone to fill the at-large seat, according to the city’s charter. If council doesn’t vote within 45 days of the position being vacated, the mayor would appoint someone to the position. The term is through the end of 2019.
Interested Stow residents need to submit a letter of interest, addressed to Stow City Council President Matt Riehl, and a resume to the Stow City Council office, located on the second floor of Stow City Hall, 3760 Darrow Road, by 12 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20. Incomplete applications won't be considered. Current Stow council members and other elected officials who want to be considered for the at-large position have to follow the same guidelines.
In other action Thursday, council approved a site plan from Instantwhip to construct a 21,065-square-foot addition onto its current 17,000-square-foot building at 4870 Hudson Drive.
Council also passed a resolution of support for the establishment of the Cuyahoga River Water Trail.
Beacon Journal reporter Emily Mills can be reached at 330-996-3334, firstname.lastname@example.org and @EmilyMills818.