Michael Mullen may not run for a third term as Marietta's mayor, but that doesn't mean he plans on leaving city government.
Mullen still hasn't committed to running or not running, but the Washington County Board of Elections indicated he recently took out petitions for mayor - as well as city council president and at-large council member.
"I'll make that decision next week," said Mullen, who previously served as the city's development director and an at-large council member for two terms.
Running for another office is "a possibility. We've got a number of projects that I want to stay involved with at some level," he said.
Mullen said he has been talking with friends and family about whether he will run for mayor again, as well as doing some "major soul-searching in my own head."
One factor he's considering is the changes coming to government at the state and national levels. Ohio is facing a projected $8 billion shortfall in the next biennial budget, and there are calls for cuts to spending at the federal level.
Declarations of candidacy for partisan candidates in the May 3 primary election must be filed by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2.
Local questions and issues for the May 3 election must be certified to the board by 4 p.m. that day as well.
Mullen noted that during his tenure the city has made use of grant funding from the state and federal government for projects like the River Trail system and ongoing Armory Square project.
"My entire public career has been involved with grant-writing and public development," he said. "It's going to be a tighter budget, and I've always been lucky enough to work in an environment where there's been a lot of opportunity for government to be entrepreneurial and to do big, major projects."
Mullen said whatever choice he makes, he wants to be able to contribute to the city in as productive and successful a way as possible.
Finding his place as the country recovers from the recent recession is the same thing "we're all dealing with in our lives," he said, "whether it's in your family or your business or, in my case, the office of mayor.
"It's a big decision to even think about changing from something I love to do very much," Mullen said.
With the Feb. 2 deadline looming, no candidates have filed to run for mayor yet. However, four potential candidates - Councilman Jon Grimm, R-3rd Ward; Fine Art and Framing Gallery owner Glenn Newman; William C. Hart Jr.; and Jeremy Thomas - have taken out petitions.
The only candidates who have filed petitions to run in the city are Councilmen Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward, and Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward.
Should Mullen file for council president, he might not be alone in the primary, as Democrat Walt Brothers recently picked up petitions.
Other potential at-large council candidates are current members Harley Noland and Josh Schlicher and Republican Dianne Crandall. Former Councilman Randy Wilson and Roger Kalter have indicated they might run for an at large or ward position.
Councilwoman Kathy Shively, D-at large, and 2010 county commission candidate Nate Wooley have taken out petitions for citywide office but have not indicated what job they might seek.
In Belpre, Mayor Mike Lorentz and incumbent Councilmen Larry K. Martin, R-1st Ward; Eric Sinnett, D-3rd Ward; and Dewey Robinson, D-4th Ward, have filed papers to run.
All other Belpre incumbents have taken out petitions.