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Brunswick councilman Joe Salzgeber appointed county recorder

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    New Medina County Recorder Joe Salzgeber, left, met with former recorder Colleen Swedyk on Saturday at Williams on the Lake.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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    Median County Republican Central Committee members gather at Williams on the Lake to select a new county recorder on Saturday.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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    Medina County Recorder candidates, from left, Jill Bell, Tonjua McCullough, Chuck Ricco and Joe Salzgeber appear before the Republican Central Committee in a meeting Saturday. The committee appointed Salzgeber to the position.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — Brunswick City Councilman Joe Salzgeber, Ward 3, has been named Medina County recorder.

Of the four candidates for recorder, Salzgeber was the only one who has won an election for public office in the last decade.

He has been Ward 3 councilman in Brunswick since 2015. In December 2002, he was appointed to fill a vacancy as Ward 2 Councilman in Brunswick and served out the remainder of that unexpired term. Salzgeber later filled in as a Brunswick Mayor’s Court Magistrate, and ran unsuccessfully for Medina County Municipal Court judge in 2017.

That experience made a difference Saturday when he was appointed to fill the spot of Medina County recorder by the Medina County Republican Central Committee.

Salzgeber, 49, received 40 votes, compared to 19 for Charles “Chuck” Ricco, seven for Jill Bell, sales director for Elmcroft of Medina, and six for Tonjau McCullough, controller for Blair Rubber Co. in Seville. Salzgeber earned 55 percent of the votes from the 72 voters.

Salzgeber will replace interim recorder Linda Bauer, who spent about 10 days in the position. Colleen Swedyk had been recorder for 12 years before being elected as county commissioner. She moved into her new role Jan. 1.

The recorder’s office handles land titles, deeds and provides ID cards to veterans, among other things.

Salzgeber said he will remain in his position as councilman.

“I will not step down,” he said. “We’re going to talk about that Monday night (at the City Council meeting).”

His Ward 3 post is up for election in the fall.

He said he does not expect any conflict between the two positions.

“Colleen (Swedyk) was (Hinckley Township) fiscal officer and recorder for a time,” Salzgeber said.

He also runs a law practice at 229 W. Liberty St. in Medina.

The recorder makes about $60,000 a year.

Salzgeber said he believed he was the best candidate for the job.

He served as Medina County assistant prosecutor for seven years in both the civil and criminal divisions, which he said makes him familiar with county government operations and personnel.

In his private practice, he has handled numerous real estate matters and court cases, drafted and recorded several deeds, liens and other documents with the Medina County Recorder and other county recorders’ offices. He prepares deeds for Kingdom Title Agency in Medina.

As a councilman, he helps oversee a $44 million annual budget and 120 employees.

Right before Christmas, he met with Swedyk and discussed the recorder’s office operations to prepare for this possible appointment.

Salzgeber said he’s been very active in the Republican Party in the county and served on the Executive Committee and was secretary. He managed the 2018 Republic Election Headquarters in Medina.

“Overall, I have much more experience than my opponents in working and managing countywide campaigns for Republican candidates in Medina County,” he said.

There are two years remaining on Swedyk’s term.

“I will not rest on my laurels, but will campaign very hard to retain the recorder’s office for the Republican Party in 2020,” he said.

Ricco ran into some controversy when he pledged to donate $10,000 of his salary back to the Republican Party’s Executive Committee. Some called it a “bribe,” which Ricco denied. He retracted the statement this week, but the damage already might have been done.

He was asked after the election if the comment hurt his chances.

“I hope not,” he said. “I hope it (didn’t). I hope it was based on qualifications.”

Ricco served with Salzgeber on Brunswick Council. He’s an integration analyst and small business owners with several Cleveland-area hospitals.

He said he thinks Salzgeber will do a fine job as recorder.

“He’s a very hard worker,” Ricco said.

In other news:

  • Chuck Calvert has been nominated by the Republican Party’s Executive Committee to fill a soon-to-be vacant position on the Medina County Board of Elections.
    It’s now in the hands of new Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is expected to make a decision in the next 30 days, Calvert said.
    Republican Sharon Ray’s four-year term on the Board of Elections will expire Feb. 28, Calvert said. The position will pay $13,000 a year.
  • Larry Cray, a Republican on the Board of Elections, was named secretary of the Central Committee on Saturday.
    The two Democrats on the Board of Elections are chairwoman Pam Miller and John Welker.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.


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