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Judge names member to Brookfield board

March 19, 2008
By JENNIFER KOVACS Tribune Chronicle
WARREN — Words used to describe the attributes possessed by Brookfield’s newest school board member included ‘‘quality,’’ ‘‘talent’’ and ‘‘experience.’’

They were stated by Probate Court Judge Thomas A. Swift Tuesday afternoon after he announced his decision on who he would appoint to the empty seat and held a brief swearing in ceremony for winner Kelly Bianco.

Faced with 11 candidates for the position, Swift said he was met with a tough call to make based on all of their individual qualifications. But, in the end, he said Bianco fit the bill best.

‘‘I think it was a good decision,’’ he said.

That judgment was put to him after the Board of Education

was unable to come to an agreement on who should take the spot of Steve Varga, who resigned from the board in February. Discussion on the topic actually led to an alleged assault of member Ronald Brennan by board president Joseph Pasquerilla during a heated March 5 executive session.

Once that deadline passed about two weeks ago, the issue by Ohio law had to be turned over to a probate court.

Superintendent Steve Stohla said he was pleased with how fast the process was completed by Swift, especially since the school board is in a position now when more often than not the remaining four board members tend to vote 2-2.

‘‘I’m glad he did this. We’re pretty much at a standstill,’’ he said.

Well aware of what she sees as an often ‘‘divisive’’ board, Bianco said her goal is to remain independent.

‘‘I have no agenda,’’ she said. ‘‘I just hope I can maintain independence. It’s such a political hot seat right now.’’

With a focus on maintaining a quality to education in Brookfield, Bianco added that her own professional background should also help in dealing with the district’s struggling finances.

Bianco owns her own firm, Strategic Valuation Group in Howland, where she manages the appraisals of companies.

‘‘I think these skills may marry with the challenges Brookfield is facing. Hopefully, I’ll bring some new ideas to the board and support on how to do that,’’ she said.

And Stohla said he’s happy to hear that, too, and looks forward to Bianco pitching in with dealing with those complicated issues alongside himself and the treasurer.

‘‘We’re in a fiscal crunch and we’re trying to get ourselves out of this,’’ Stohla said.

The remaining 10 candidates who also applied for the seat were Gwen Martino, Rhonda Bonekovic, Steve Shull, Jerry Necastro, Kenneth Warrender, Drew Balach, Darin Vadala, James Hoffman, Joanne Sydlowski and Joseph O’Toole.

Fact Box

Age: 39
Occupation: Owner of Strategic Valuation Group in Howland
Family: Husband, Mark; three sons, Billy, Spencer and Harrison; and two stepsons, Marky and Andrew
Hometown: Lifelong Brookfield resident



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