On Nov. 11, Judge Steven Bieda of the 37th District Court administered a ceremonial oath of office for those elected, but the official swearing-in ceremony and transfer of power was scheduled to be held in the City Clerk’s office on Nov. 20, after the Warren Weekly went to press.

On Nov. 11, Judge Steven Bieda of the 37th District Court administered a ceremonial oath of office for those elected, but the official swearing-in ceremony and transfer of power was scheduled to be held in the City Clerk’s office on Nov. 20, after the Warren Weekly went to press.

Photo provided by James Coulson

New City Council includes mix of incumbents, newcomers

By: Gena Johnson | Warren Weekly | Published November 17, 2023


WARREN — On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, a ceremonial swearing-in was held for the newly-elected Warren public officials at City Hall.

On Nov. 7, Warren voters elected the city’s mayor, clerk, treasurer and members of the City Council for the next four years.

Judge Steven Bieda of the 37th District Court administered an oath of office for those elected, but the official swearing-in ceremony and transfer of power was scheduled to be held in the City Clerk’s office on Nov. 20, after the Warren Weekly went to press.

The tenor of the ceremonial event was that this is a new day in city government where unity and working together to move Warren forward is the goal.

“This team of leaders before you today represents the dawn of a new era,” said Councilman Jonathan Lafferty, representing City Council District 2. “We share a collective vision for the future, one that dictates that we must cast aside the rancor and hateful rhetoric that has plagued our city for decades and further compels us to leave behind with reckless abandon those who perpetuate that vicious cycle. Let it be known today, from this moment forward, the sun has set on that brand of politics in our city.”


City Council election results on Nov. 7
Newcomer Dave Dwyer and incumbent City Councilwoman Angela Rogensues were elected to the city’s two at-large City Council seats.

Dwyer, the son of Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer, was the top vote-getter with 10,424 votes (27.3%). Rogensues received 10,353 votes (27.1%). Donna Kaczor Caumartin, a former councilwoman, received 8,768 votes (23.0%) and Marie C. Adkins received 8,599 votes (22.5%).

“I think we should be starting with a clean slate. We (have) got to forget about what’s been going on the past four years and work together,” said Dwyer.  “Residents are frustrated. When I’m going door to door, they’re just shaking their head about the way the last four years went down. The bickering between the mayor and the council and the litigation and the expense to us, the taxpayers.”

According to Dwyer, among his top priorities are updating the parks, studying the Town Center development to ensure it would come at no expense to taxpayers, and smart grid technology for timely restoration of power after an outage.

Rogensues said she learned a lot by serving on the City Council from 2019 to 2023 and that she would now like to implement that in this term.

“Locally, you can (have an) impact on some important issues. Manufactured housing, mobile home legislation has been an issue in the city. It has not allowed local government to hold owners or landlords of manufactured housing accountable,” said Rogensues. “Learning that there was limited opportunity for me at the local level to really shift things, I started working with our state delegation and a national organization focused on manufactured housing reform to determine how to best serve our folks, to make sure that there is always a way to move up the ladder of government to serve the people you represent.”

In District 1, Melody Magee also made history as the first Black woman to be elected to the Warren City Council. Magee received 2,058 votes (57.6%) to defeat Charles Perry (1,517 votes, 42.4%).

“I am excited to continue to work in my community,” Magee said, as she was on her way to speak to Fitzgerald High School students.

Magee has been an advocate for diversity and inclusion in Warren government.

“It means a lot to me. More importantly, it means a lot because our young people can look at me and say, ‘I see a person of color up there that looks just like me,’” said Magee. “That is important when you are promoting diversity and inclusion. You have to have people in political offices in City Hall that look just like us.”

According to Magee, many of her campaign signs were taken. However, she was still able to win nearly 58% of the vote.

“I am not my signs, and my signs are not me,” said Magee. “I think the connection with people is the most important thing. You have to go out there and speak to the people. I think the signs are great. They keep your name in their (voters) heads but at the same time, you have to talk to them. You’ve got to do the feedback and you’ve got to do the follow-up and that’s what makes a great leader.”

Lafferty (District 2) and Mindy Moore (District 3) retained their seats.

Reelected to his second term, Lafferty received 2,465 votes (52.5%) and challenger Adam Sawka received 2,234 votes (47.5%).

“I am grateful to residents of Warren for their vote of confidence in reelecting me to the council,” said Lafferty. “This victory represents a firm rejection of the divisive political practices of the past and promises a new era of bold leadership.”

Moore received 2,544 votes (53.1%) to best challenger Daniel Bozek (2,247 votes, 46.9%).

“It was a long campaign. It was difficult because of some of the things done to candidates by some others. It was very nasty. My campaign wasn’t,” said Moore, who was elected to serve a third term on council. “The beauty of it is, I got to walk through the whole city for the summer and fall, and talk to residents, and they came out and voted yesterday. I am extremely grateful.

“We (council) have not had the opportunity to work collaboratively and cooperatively with the (previous) administration. To make Warren move forward, that is the key. I am really looking forward to working with Mayor Stone,” Moore said.

In District 4, challenger Gary Boike defeated incumbent Garry Watts. Boike received 2,313 votes (54.1%) and Watts received 1,959 (45.9%).

“I am finally going to be able to show the citizens what we campaigned on — unity,” said Boike. “Being that everybody from our slate didn’t win, nothing’s changed. I believe we have unity and will continue to work with the administration and get things done in Warren.”

The slate Boike refers to was known as the “Super Seven,” which were the seven people endorsed by former Mayor James Fouts. Three of the seven were elected: Boike, Dwyer and City Clerk Sonja Buffa.

“The mayor’s endorsement was a major contribution. I knocked on hundreds of doors. I would say probably 80% to 90% of them wished the mayor could run. They had high regard for him and were sorry to see him leave.” Boike said.

According to Boike, there are so many things that need to be done, but he looks forward to updating the charter.

“A priority of mine is to get the city charter rewritten. I think the charter is vague. When language is vague, it is open to interpretation that results in parties filing lawsuits against each other,” Boike said.

Henry Newnan won election to the City Council in District 5 with 1,949 votes (53.5%), defeating Brittani Tringali (1,692 votes, 46.5%).

“I am so excited. This is certainly a huge inflection point in the history of the city of Warren,” said Newnan. “We have at least five city councilors, counting myself, who can work together with the new mayor to do good things for the city.

“I certainly don’t want to exclude the two (candidates) that were on the Dimas slate that got elected,” said Newnan, referring to Dwyer and Boike.

The “Dimas slate” of candidates was endorsed by Fouts.

According to Newnan, he has been longtime friends with and has worked with four of the members elected to the council and looks forward to working with and getting to know Dwyer and Boike.

“The first guiding principle is do no harm,” Newnan said.

According to the numbers reported by the county, voter turnout in Warren was 20.5%.