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Akron City Council organizes for 2008, will lose Otterman

1/10/2008 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Council to search for new Ohio House Rep. John Otterman’s replacement

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron City Council set meeting times and appointed committee members at its Jan. 7 meeting, but it appears committee assignments will need to be revisited in the near future.

Councilman John Otterman (D-at large) was appointed to continue his service on the Committee on Committees and Rules, Parks and Recreation, Housing and Health and Social Services committees. However, Otterman said he plans to submit a letter of resignation to City Council today or tomorrow, Jan. 10 or 11, after being sworn in Jan. 9 at the Ohio House of Representatives.

Otterman is replacing his father, Robert Otterman, who has served as the Democratic representative of District 45 for eight years. The elder Otterman has taken a position with Summit County.

John Otterman, who resides in Ellet, said he will remain an Akron resident.

He said he looks forward to serving District 45, which includes parts of South Akron as well as Springfield and Coventry townships, and to working toward a Democratic majority in the House.

John Otterman must run in the March 4 Primary Election to keep his seat in the House of Representatives.

To appoint Otterman’s replacement, Council will form an ad hoc committee to solicit resumes, then interview candidates and make a recommendation to the full Council.

Akron City Council will continue its tradition of meeting every Monday at 7 p.m., except on legal holidays and in the month of August, when it recesses.

Council’s committees will be comprised as follows:

  • Committee on Committees: Chairman Marco Sommerville (D-Ward 3), Vice Chairman Michael Williams (D-at large), Otterman, John Conti (D-at large) and Reneé Greene (D-Ward 3)
  • Rules Committee: Chairman Conti, Vice Chairman Otterman, Williams, Greene and Bob Keith (D-Ward 8);
  • Budget and Finance Committee: Chairwoman Tina Merlitti (D-Ward 7), Vice Chairman Jim Shealey (D-Ward 5), Mike Freeman (D-Ward 9), James Hurley (D-Ward 1) and Conti;
  • Planning Committee: Chairman Conti, Vice Chairman Keith, Terry Albanese (D-Ward 6), Greene and Merlitti;
  • Public Service Committee: Chairman Keith, Vice Chairman Conti, Albanese, Williams and Freeman;
  • Public Utilities Committee: Chairman Hurley, Vice Chairwoman Kelli Crawford (D-Ward 10), Williams, Bruce Kilby (D-Ward 2) and Merlitti;
  • Public Safety Committee: Chairman Shealey, Vice Chairman Keith, Greene, Williams and Kilby;
  • Parks and Recreation Committee: Chairwoman Crawford; Vice Chairman Otterman, Williams, Freeman and Hurley;
  • Housing Committee: Chairman Freeman, Vice Chairman Otterman, Hurley, Kilby and Williams;
  • Health and Social Services Committee: Chairwoman Greene, Vice Chairman Williams, Conti, Otterman and Crawford; and
  • Special Economic Development and Job Creation Committee: Chairwoman Albanese, Vice Chairwoman Greene, Shealey, Freeman and Merlitti.

In legislative action, Council authorized the city’s participation in the submission of a proposal to the Ohio Research Scholars Program to establish the Orthopaedic Research Institute of Northeastern Ohio (ORINEO). The University of Akron and the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy are acting as lead applicants to submit the proposal to establish the ORINEO in the city’s Biomedical Corridor. Other collaborators include the Greater Akron Chamber, Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General Medical Center, Summa Health System and County of Summit.

Council also approved a resolution honoring Jeff Fusco, who retired last month as city deputy service director, and rewarded him with a standing ovation. Fusco also served as Ward 10 and at-large councilman from 1986 to 1997.

“Jeff Fusco’s 10-year tenure as Deputy Service Director has been marked by his dedicated, energetic and frequently humorous approach to resolving problems and complaints and taking steps to improve the city’s neighborhoods,” the resolution states.

At the next meeting, public hearings will take place on various requests for conditional-use permits, including for the construction of a flagpole telecommunications tower at 393 Storer Ave. in West Akron, and the placement of electronic LED signs at the Ellet and Odom Boulevard branch libraries.

The next regular Akron City Council meeting will take place Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers on the third floor of the Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. Committee meetings will begin at 1:45 p.m. that afternoon in the same location.

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