XENIA — A new mayor will be elected in Xenia during the November election.
Marsha Bayless, who has served two terms, did not return a petition by the 4 p.m. Aug. 9 deadline. Current council member Sarah Mays turned in the only mayor petition and assuming it is certified by the board of elections later this month, she will be the next mayor.
Per the city charter, the mayor has no more authority than the rest of council but acts as the city’s figurehead at ceremonies, ribbon cuttings, etc.
“I figure this is a good time,” the 66-year-old Bayless said. “I’ve enjoyed the time I have had on council and being mayor. Time to bow out and enjoy retirement like I started out to enjoy it eight years ago.”
Bayless retired from Xenia schools after 35 years and was a year into retirement when she was convinced to run for mayor by incumbent Phyllis Pennewitt, who did not seek re-election. She defeated current councilman Dale Louderback in her first election and then ran unopposed for her second term.
She’s seen the good — such as the opening of the new administration building — and the bad — such as council’s inquiry into two of its own. But nothing specific led to Bayless’ decision.
“Anything that you do you’re going to have some times where it always won’t be a smooth road,” she said. “I’m used to that. I’m a very prayerful person. I prayed about it. I have a lot of things going on in my church right now. I just kind of want to be able to relax just a bit.”
Mays, who was elected to council in the Nov. 2015 election, will fulfill a personal goal if her election becomes official.
“I have wanted to run for mayor for many years,” she said. “I very clearly remember at one of the Easter egg hunts, I said ‘Mayor Bayless, I respect you immensely and I hope to run for mayor some day.’ I have a very strong passion for our community. I love Xenia.”
Mays also knows she will have big shoes to fill.
“I think she’s been an incredible mayor,” Mays said. “I think she is a phenomenal ambassador for our city.”
The city is also losing its “first dog.”
Bayless said her pup, Bruno, is also retiring.
“(Mays) has got to get her own dog,” Bayless said.
Jeanne Mills, another long-time council member, did not take out a petition and will see her time on council end in December. She could not be reached for comment.
Others returning petitions for city council were: incumbent Wesley Smith and challengers Phillip Rene Shaw; Thomas L. Scrivens; Billie Carrico; Dennis R. Propes; Carol R. Igess; Eric VA Winston; Levi P Dean; Edward A. Council.
Six residents took out petitions for Xenia school board: Incumbents Robert P. Dillaplain, Cheryl D. Marcus, and Jennifer E. Marietta and would-be challengers Steve Key, Harvey Johnson, and Jeff Zweber. Only the incumbents returned their petitions.
According to the board of elections qualified residents can declare themselves to be a write-in candidate by Monday, Aug. 28.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.