Kent City Council

Kent City Council is the legislative body governing the city. It is in charge of passing legislation, allocating funds, changing zoning requirements and passing ordinances. For example, before funds get allocated to fix a road, the motion must pass by a majority vote in council. Council also oversees several committees.

The mayor also sits on council, but only votes in the event of a tie.

The Stater has decided to profile not only the council members who are running, but also sitting council members to give our readership a better idea of who runs the city we live in.

Council meetings are open to the public and take place at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at the Kent City Council Chambers.

One candidate in Kent mayoral race

John Fender is the only candidate for mayor in Kent this year.

Fender, who has been the mayor of Kent since 1998, is running unopposed for the second time for the four-year, part-time position.

No write-in candidates have filed to run against Fender, said Lois Enlow, director of the Portage County Board of Elections.

The mayor of Kent is only a ceremonial position; the city manager serves as the chief executive officer of the city. The mayor runs city council meetings but votes only when there is a tie.

Fender often has been a representative for the city in his years as mayor, also acting as a conduit between residents and city government.

– Grace Dobush




Running unopposed

Name: John Fender

Party: Independent

Age: 70

Experience: Middle school principal in Kent for 24 years, worked in Warren as a teacher and an assistant principal, served with NATO forces in Germany from 1957 to 1960 and has been mayor since 1998.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in history and government from Ohio University; master’s degree in school administration from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa.

Favorite spot(s) in Kent: Any of the city’s 17 parks, especially John Brown Tannery Park and Fred Fuller Park

Goals while in office: Work with Kent State and students to improve college-city relations, vitalize downtown, generate jobs through economic development and ensure the city continues to give good services, such as police and fire safety




Not up for re-election

Name: Garret Ferrara

Age: 38

Political party: Republican

Occupation: Financial adviser at Merrill Lynch in Akron

On council since: 2000.

Goals while in office: To see a better business environment and the implementation of the Bicentennial Plan.

Favorite spot(s) in Kent: The ice rink, the new dam, his house on Pioneer Avenue. Also: “If I had a nickel for every dollar I spent at Ray’s, I’d be a rich man.”

Activities in his free time: “I like to ski, and I like to fly. I like to partake in a cold beer every now and then, too.”




Not up for re-election

Name: Carrie Gavriloff

Age: 32

Political party: Independent

Occupation: Nurse at Akron Children’s Hospital

On council since: 2004

Education: Bachelor of Science in nursing from Kent State in 1996. She is on earning a Master of Science in nursing through the University of Phoenix.

Favorite spot(s) in Kent: Plum Creek Park

Activities in her free time: Scrapbooking and her four children, ages 7, 4 and 3-year-old twins.




Not up for re-election

Name: Wayne Wilson

Age: 50

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Owns and operates a Genor auto service garage

On council since: 1992

Goals while in office: Economic development, continuing to support the city’s services

Activities in his free time: Watching NASCAR, working with the Lions club




Kathleen Guckelberger’s term will end at the end of the calendar year. She is not running for re-election.




Not up for re-election

Name: Edward C. Bargerstock

Age: 51

On council since: 2004.

Favorite spot(s) in Kent: “My favorite Kent location is my downtown office, the Bargerstock Agency Real Estate Broker/Insurance Services.”

Goals on council this year: Continue to live up to his campaign promises




Not up for re-election

Name: Beth Oswitch

Age: 38

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Her family cross-stitching business

On council since: 2004.

Goals while in office: “I just want to be accessible to the residents.”

Favorite spot(s) in Kent: “My neighborhood. We have a good neighborhood.”

Activities in her free time: “Playing with my kids and my husband at the playground.”




Running for re-election (see above story for opponents)

Name: Michael A. DeLeone

Age: 46

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Kent State’s maintenance department

On council since: 1998.

Goals while in office: Would like to see more money to fix the roads.

Favorite spot(s) in Kent: “Believe it or not, I work there. I like campus. We had one supervisor who used to say ‘this place is like my own private park.’ And you take pride in that.”

Activities in his free time: “My son plays lacrosse for Kent Roosevelt, and they went to the state championship last year. They lost, but I have become like a lacrosse dad. I do a lot of the fundraising. I also go to football games. I have season tickets to Ohio State.”




Running for re-election

Name: Richard Hawksley

Age: 48

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Self-employed, also works as an architect consultant with Fuller Design Group in Kent and does weekly commentary for WCRF radio in Cleveland.

On council since: 2002.

Goals while in office: Work to implement the Bicentennial Plan, get the city government financially on track, make Kent a bicycle-friendly city and increase public participation in discussion about public issues.

Activities in his free time: Coaches and plays soccer for Kent Red, an over-40 men’s soccer team, that is part of Kent Soccer Club. He also enjoys his garden in his backyard.




Running for re-election

Name: William Schultz

Party: Democratic

Age: 51

Occupation: domestic relations lawyer

On council since: 1998

Favorite location in Kent: Anywhere near the Kent dam for some rest and relaxation. “When the water is running and the river is running, it’s invigorating. It’s enjoyable.”

Goals if elected: Improving the finances of the city, implementing the bicentennial plan and improving the roads

Other city issues: Continuing progress on campus link and improving communication between residents and students.