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Ray Haseley Ready to Say Good-Bye to City Council

Longtime Ward 2 rep looking forward to 'smelling the roses'

Ray Haseley Ready to Say Good-Bye to City Council

When casts his last vote as Ward 2 councilman next month, it will be a bittersweet moment.

Sure, he ran for another term this year.

And sure, he'll miss the council job he's held for the last 14 years.

"The best part was being involved," said Haseley, 78, who started his involvement in city government on the Planning Commission. "Then the more I got involved, the more I wanted to be."

But shedding the responsibility and long hours won't be all bad, either.

"It's kind of a relief," he said. "Now that it's over, I can admit to myself it's time to smell the roses."

The Race

Haseley didn't run an especially energetic campaign. His opponent, Matt Schonhut, 20, did.

"He used social media and a lot of things I didn't," Haseley said. "I give Matt a lot of credit. He's a good kid. Once he gets acclimated, if he uses his head, he'll do well."

He also credits Schonhut with running a clean, above-board campaign.

"He never went negative, and there were a lot of people telling him he should," Haseley said.

He admits now he considered not running for re-election, which might have led to his low-key campaign and narrow defeat at the polls.

Running the City

Haseley focused on economic growth in Strongsville, as well as helping residents with their problems.

"He's always been a gentleman who tried to do his best to help the city," said Council President Mike Daymut, who has known Haseley for 25 years. "There's nothing better you can say about a councilman than that."

Of all his achievements, which include appointments on various boards and the , Haseley is proudest of his 7 1/2 months as acting mayor, although it meant the loss of Walter Ehrnfelt, his close friend.

Haseley, who was council president at the time, filled in after Ehrnfelt's unexpected death in May 2003 until current Mayor Tom Perciak was appointed.

Haseley had just remarried when he took on the mayoral duties.

"I just got back from my honeymoon and all of a sudden, I'm working 14- to 16-hour days," he recalled. "I hardly got to see my wife."

Still, he said he was honored to do it, and just as honored to turn over the reins to Perciak.

What's Next?

Don't look for Haseley to drop out of sight. He's hoping to be appointed to the Planning Commission in the future.

"That's my first love, anyway," he said.

But he can't help grinning when he talks about his upcoming vacation and travel plans.

"I've already got a golf trip lined up," he said. "And we'll be going to Las Vegas to see my granddaughter in the cheerleading finals."

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