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Retired Principal is Newest City Council Member

Roger Sidoti shifts his career from the halls of Roosevelt to council chambers.

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.

He also has been volunteering his assistance with the personnel selection process for the new Bio-Med Science Academy at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown.

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."

Bonefishbill February 16, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Congrats Roger!!! My favorite AHS Government teacher! See you around town!
Pat February 16, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Of all the applicants none better could be chosen. He should run for mayor later as Kent needs a true genteman with class to be Mayor. Mr. Sidoti is well thought of in our community!
Kevin Coral February 16, 2012 at 10:06 PM
what is his political affiliation, btw? i've not seen that addressed in any article. and i don't think it wrong to question why a woman or younger person were not the priority here. kent needs new blood and new ideas. this, like the library passing over many qualified woman candidates in filling their board space last month, seems like "good ol' boy" politics to me. the results of the ferrara/long race should've sent a strong signal to council and city government that there is a desire for *different* voices to be represented in kent. this seems like a wasted opportunity in light of that...
Linda UmBayemake February 17, 2012 at 05:50 AM
City Council will continue to operate as it has since 1984 when I first attended a meeting. The only difference now is the year. Change needs to come to Kent after all this time. Do you remember Robert Felton or Bill Schultz when he was young? Change does not come till the people demand it.
Erik Clarke February 19, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Congratulations, Roger Sidoti!

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