Retired Principal Roger Sidoti has a new public role: Kent City Council member.
The 40-year educator admitted to feeling "a little overwhelmed" after sitting through his first official meeting as a council member Wednesday, an at-large position he will hold through Dec. 31, 2013.
Council spent three hours Wednesday evening interviewing (one was a no-show) for the seat midway through his four-year term.
Each candidate gave a short presentation, then answered questions asked by various council members. The public interviews ran about 10 minutes for each candidate, although one session was as short as six minutes and another as long as 16 minutes.
Once council convened its regular meeting at 9:30 p.m., each member was given a ballot on which to vote for one applicant. No one candidiate received the five votes needed to win, so the field was narrowed by eliminating those who received no votes at all.
That left five candidates: attorneys Sean Buchanan and Scott Flynn, architect Rick Hawksley, sales associate Polly Kordinak and Sidoti.
A second round of balloting further narrowed the field to top vote-getters Buchanan and Sidoti. One final round of voting gave Sidoti the job. Within minutes he was sworn in by Mayor Jerry Fiala and took his new seat.
, Sidoti has been working part-time with two production companies on educational media programming.
The 37-year Kent resident has served on a number of city boards and committees, including the Charter Review Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Assessment Equalization Board, Planning Commission and the Crain Avenue Citizens Advisory Committee.
After his first meeting, Sidoti said his years in education played a role in deciding to pursue a seat on council.
"I used to teach American government and political science at the high-school level, and I’ve always felt I should model for young people that you should serve your community. Every time I’ve applied for a position, I did so because there was a need," Sidoti said.
In his application, Sidoti said he hoped city officials would view his administrative-level experiences in finance, negotiations, policy development, public relations, crisis management, personnel and law as a valuable resource.
Several council members pointed out they were impressed with the overall field of candidates.
"This group of candidates was tremendous. I don’t think we could have made a bad decision," said Councilman Robin Turner. "Roger is an excellent addition to council in a real time of change and moving forward. We’re going to have a tremendous opportunity with his leadership."