Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey – File Photo

Loveland, Ohio – On Wednesday, Mayor Kathy Bailey announced she has selected Kent Blair to fill the vacant seat on City Council. The council seat has been vacant since the resignation of Mark Fitzgerald on August 14 of last year. Blair will serve the remaining two-year’s of Fitzgerald’s term. Blair is expected to be sworn into office at the next council meeting scheduled for January 9.

In a press release, Bailey said she conducted personal interviews with several candidates before making her decision. “I selected Kent because he shares my commitment to community engagement and transparency,” Bailey said. “The voters made clear this November what qualities they want in their council members, and Kent exemplifies them all. He is committed to working with this new council to make the City proud of the work we do, and the manner in which we do it.”

Blair had submitted petitions to run for one of the four, four-year open council seats in last November’s election but withdrew from the race when Neal Oury submitted petitions to run.

The Back Story

On August 11 the Hamilton County Board of Elections ruled that Oury and the Loveland Community Heartbeat Political Action Committee (LCHPAC) had submitted sufficient petitions to recall Fitzgerald. The petition effort was successful, and could have resulted in a head-to-head race, Oury vs. Fitzgerald, however instead of facing the voters to retain his seat, resigned. That left Fitzgerald’s seat open and Loveland without a Mayor.

Oury then submitted petitions to run for one of the regular open seats on Council and that is when Blair withdrew his petitions to run. It was an apparent deal with LCHPAC who endorsed five candidates. If there was not a recall election, Blair would withdraw making room for Oury’s name on the ballot. Others receiving the LCHPAC endorsement were incumbents, Rob Weisgerber, Ted Phelps, and newcomer Tim Butler. 

Fitzgerald stepped down as Mayor at an August 14 meeting so that he could still cast a vote on who would be the next mayor and vice-mayor. The votes were 4-3 in favor of then vice-mayor Angie Settell and then, council member, Pam Gross. After the meeting was over, Fitzgerald distributed a letter that he was resigning from Council. The attempt to elevate Settell to Mayor was later ruled illegal by City Solicitor Joe Braun because there wasn’t proper public notice of the meeting. Braun also ruled that the council seat would remain open until new council members were sworn in on December 4 and a new Mayor elected. Bailey was elected Mayor.

About Kent Blair

Kent Blair is expected to be sworn into office at the next council meeting scheduled for January 9.

In announcing his withdrawal from the ballot, Blair said on August 18, “I was one of nine candidates on the ballot for four City Council seats. When I was first asked to consider running, I made it clear to all that, while I want to serve, and believe that I would do a good job, the main outcome of the election must be removing the existing majority on Council. To help achieve that, if necessary, I would withdraw my own candidacy so that the full support of those in Loveland who share my goal could be focused, laser-like, on four candidates for four seats. With the recall election no longer a possible ballot question, the mathematics of the race have changed. It is in celebration of that victory, and in keeping with my commitment, that I have withdrawn my name for the ballot for November, and strongly urge any and all who share my views of the future of our city to support now and cast your votes when the time comes for Rob Weisgerber, Ted Phelps, Neal Oury, and Tim Butler.”

Blair is employed at U.S. Bank where he is an investment advisor and broker. He is a 12-year resident of Loveland and dad to a senior at Loveland High School. He has been a member of the Amazing Charity Race Committee since its inception and as a 7-year coach of SAY Soccer.

In announcing his candidacy Blair said he would advocate for transparency and resident engagement. At the top of his list for reform is the makeup of the Community Improvement Corporation. Blair added, “I am a strong supporter of accountability of elected officials to the people they serve. I believe in process, good stewardship of resources, an expectation of inclusion, and sensible growth. Loveland should stand for all of the residents, not the few who lead it. Development of a future master plan must be approached with an emphasis on community representation, not strategic power plays that benefit only a few.”

Bailey added, “I appreciate and thank all of those candidates who applied. This was a very tough decision, but I think Kent will be a great addition to the new council, and I am excited to work with him.”



16 COMMENTS

  1. Ms. Gentry – specific examples were given yet no responses on the actual facts. That is typical obfuscation and the tactics of a person who is obtuse. So, I believe the laughter will be for you and your actions from the past and the future. Will definitely be paying attention to the committees you have been appointed to and obviously rewarded for all of your ” hard work”

  2. Todd, what’s your point? Developments next stop is Planning & Zoning, never been presented to that commission, can’t wait to see how the “good guys” are going to handle this one. Stay tuned.

    Could care less the gender of the person who appoints, only matters if qualified people were picked and different viewpoints are embraced. Some of the appointments clearly show this was not the case, by the way weren’t you appointed to something?

    • to El Con
      You may have very valid points and concerns, but so much of what you do with quotes about “issues” and the negative tone you keep using, all hidden behind no name just makes you sound like a bully trying to stir up trouble. Truly does sound like a grudge. My name isn’t in the post either & I have my reasons, but I’m also not stirring up controversy in my posts. Maybe your real name is Mark & that is why you don’t want to use it. There are better ways to communicate concerns. Again, you may have very valid points or concerns, but frankly I take nothing you say seriously because I think it is pretty obvious that you have an issue with the “good guys” and maybe a connection to the “old evil regime”. Seriously grow up & deal with things like an adult. I have faith that the new council will do what they have promised, and if not, the next election isn’t that far away.

  3. Ms. Gentry – you are clearly ignorant of what constitutes a public record and quite frankly I’m now very concerned that someone with your limited qualifications and experience sits not on one but three committees. I’m thinking the more you respond your actually verify my original concern that the Mayor did not pick the best qualified but rewarded those who supported, financed and campaigned for the new majority. Again, if it’s your “guys” that’s OK but not if someone else does it. Called hypocrisy.

    If you read my post, I never said all new members appointed served under Weisgerber, so it is you who LIED by saying so. Humm… and what committees were you appointed to? Will need to pay special attention to those meetings.

    • All anyone of substance can do is laugh at you……and that is exactly what I shall do….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    • El Conquistador,

      Shanda Gentry may be learning the ropes of how city government works, but that does not equate to her being unfit for committee duties. She has displayed a willingness to volunteer her time, and doesn’t seem to be seeking personal gain from her committee roles.

      Let us remember that Loveland employs a city solicitor who serves to assist in determining the legal validity of council actions. For example, the city solicitor was instrumental in determining that a 2017 special meeting called by then Mayor Mark Fitzgerald was not a legal meeting and voided the business conducted at the meeting. The Clerk of Council had failed to post a notice of the special meeting 12 hours beforehand as required by Loveland law. The notice was put on the bulletin board outside City Hall four hours short of the 12 hours required (see http://lovelandmagazine.com/solicitor-tells-council-their-meeting-was-not-proper-and-settell-is-not-mayor).

      I do not fault Ms. Gentry for not being a professional bureaucrat or regurgitating policy chapter and verse. In fact, that probably means she brings less baggage and fresh perspective to her volunteer roles.

  4. Board of Zoning Appeals heard a request for a variance on the 13 townhomes on May 31, 2017 (BZA appointed by prior mayor/approved by council). BZA approved the variance (property setbacks). The property is within a R-MF district (Residential – Multi-Family). The property owner later bought the vacant property (owned by a former councilwoman/Mayor) along West Loveland Avenue and adjoining the property. The owner added 6 homes and requested a variance for those, which was approved earlier this month. The makeup of the BZA has not changed.

    El Con – As I understand, the best people were appointed for committee placement, regardless of sex. Appointed by a female. Did you apply? How about using a real name?

  5. Christopher, are the members appointed the best and most qualified? If you look at who they are, they’ve already served many years ago under Mayor Weisgerber. So much for new ideas, perspectives and engaging the public as a whole. There were five women who applied for the finance committee, and none of them were qualified to serve, hummm….

    Nice try Joe, the proposed development behind the post office has nothing to do with the “old council”, never made its way to Planning & Zoning or council. Quite certain that fact won’t stop certain individuals from blaming the “old evil regime” By the way council doesn’t create any development, developers and investors do.

    • Curious how you know that five women applied to the finance committee? I was not aware that the applications were made public? Can you share this public information and who these five were? I am serving on several committees and I have never served before so your lie about all newly appointed members serving under Mayor Weisgerber years ago is not true. Seems like you might have a personal axe to grind here and not even willing to use a real name?

  6. “El Con” (not very transparent of you by the way), You seem to complain a-lot. Among other things, you remark that there “is not female representation” on important committees. Isn’t the mayor who appointed the committee members a female? Are you suggesting she avoided women for some reason? You should consider that perhaps she chose the most qualified persons regardless of gender. I, for one, would rather have the most qualified committee members rather than lesser-qualified members for aesthetics. Your repeated protests smack of “sour grapes”. Why don’t you give the new majority an opportunity to work before you start harping?

  7. To all those folks prior to the election complaining about development – what do you think about the proposed development of 19 town homes behind the post office? Check out the Board of Zoning appeals meeting tonight, guess all this “growth”is OK when the “good guys” are in charge of city hall.

    • Are the proposed townhomes going to be built on the hillside behind the post office? That seems like a tight squeeze and not the most aesthetically pleasing site. Why not build them somewhere in Loveland with more space and the chance for a true neighborhood atmosphere?

  8. “expectation of inclusion” does that only mean viewpoints that the current majority agrees with? Seems those with differing opinions are expected to fall in line, check out council video from the 12/12 council meeting. So much for tolerance, bring on the bullying.

    Nothing changes – as Lord Acton said “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”

  9. so does “resident engagement” only include male viewpoints and opinions? Take a look at the recent committee appointments – Finance ( led by our fearless vice leader Weisgerber) Planning & Zoning, CIC – there is no female representation on these important committees, yet there has been in the past. Guess the “good ole boy” network is back and alive and well

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.