PEPPER PIKE — Jim LeMay came to council in 2011 after the city barely averted a financial crisis. He said he is running for re-election to keep the city moving in a positive direction. He has served two terms so far and filed his petition with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to run during the Nov. 5 general election.
“In the eight years since then, we’ve done a great job of putting the city on firm financial footing while improving services and keeping taxes down,” said Mr. LeMay, 62. “We’re in very good financial condition and we improved financial strength. I’m running again because I want to see that keep going.”
Mr. LeMay said that around 2010, Pepper Pike had almost run out of funds. He said that the administration of Mayor Bruce Akers was considering doubling taxes, and residents were questioning how this predicament came to be. Mr. LeMay said that he reviewed the city’s financial records at the time, and realized that there was a spending problem, not a revenue problem. He joined an ad hoc financial review committee, wrote a report detailing several recommendations and ran for City Council.
“Our goal was maintaining fiscal responsibility so we never have another financial crisis,” he said. “We spend citizens’ money as if it was our own: carefully, prudently and getting good value for their tax dollars.”
Outside of council, Mr. LeMay is the vice president of corporate development and general counsel for Omnova Solutions, a specialty chemical manufacturer in Beachwood. On the corporate side, he is involved in strategy for the company and how it grows, such as matters of mergers and acquisitions domestically and globally. He looks for companies to buy and works out the details of the transaction.
Mr. LeMay said he is also in charge of the company’s worldwide legal matters, including global compliance, intellectual property, corporate governance, supporting business units, risk management and managing any litigation or claims. In addition, Mr. LeMay is the chairman of the company’s investment committee to manage the pension fund.
He is a member of the investment committee for Hawken School and teaches a class on strategic management at the Boler College of Business at John Carroll University.
Mr. LeMay said that Pepper Pike is still catching up on capital improvements, such as roads, sewers and catch basins. One of his goals as a council member is to continue to update the city’s infrastructure. He also said that council and the administration of Mayor Richard Bain have built up the city’s sense of community with social events, such as the Taste of Pepper Pike, the Ice Cream Social, Music in the Park, Movies in the Park and the Fall Harvest Festival.
“All of those build Pepper Pike into a civil institution,” he said. “They make it a stronger community. Knowing my neighbors and becoming friends with the community is important to build a civil society.”
Mr. LeMay has lived in Pepper Pike for 26 years. He has been married to his wife, Abby, for 29 years and has four children, Ian, 28, Brendan, 25, Jack, 23 and Maggie, 18.