Sommerville steps down as president
Akron Council elects Moneypenny, pursues diversity in leadership
|Photo courtesy of the city of Akron|
Minutes later, amid handshakes and a standing ovation, Councilman Garry Moneypenny (D-Ward 10) stepped up into Sommerville’s place.
Earlier in the day, Sommerville had been named by Mayor Don Plusquellic the city’s new planning director, effective Jan. 1. [For more on several personnel changes at City Hall, see story on Page 1.] At the Council meeting, he said he will continue to serve the residents of West Akron’s Ward 3 as their Council representative until January, but would step down as president in the meantime.
“I look forward to the next four weeks of serving them as I have for the last 25 years,” he said.
He took time to speak of some of the accomplishments he values highest from his tenure on Council, including the naming of streets in honor of black figures such as Vernon Odom Sr. and Rita Dove, obtaining grocery stores for inner-city neighborhoods and achieving the passage of a charter amendment in this year’s General Election that alters the city’s election schedule so Council members will serve four-year terms instead of two. He also expressed his gratitude to his family, Council staff and Highland PR founder Bob Zajac.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve,” he told Council members. “This city has a bright future. … I know that every one of you cares about this city in your own way.”
Council Vice President Mike Freeman (D-Ward 9) opened the floor for nominations after noting that both he and Council Pro Tem Jeff Fusco (D-at large) had already reached the decision that they didn’t care to serve as Council president, despite either being the logical successor.
Fusco then nominated Moneypenny. Moneypenny was unanimously elected by his fellow Council members, with Sommerville abstaining, to assume the Council presidency.
Before the vote, Councilman Russel Neal (D-Ward 4) moved for time before the decision was made and requested that Council members caucus and regroup on how they operate before moving forward. His, however, was the only “yes” vote for time, and the election proceeded.
“Thank you for your trust and your support in electing me to this position,” Moneypenny said to his fellow Council members. He praised the diversity of backgrounds on Council and said, “I hope to nurture that and take advantage of our talents.”
Moneypenny invited Sommerville’s family members to return for the Dec. 17 meeting, which will be Sommerville’s send-off, though he warned it “might tend to be a little bit of a roast.”
Moneypenny made the following committee appointments to fill vacancies his election to president created: Ken Jones (D-Ward 5) will serve as chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee; Neal will serve on the Planning Committee; Donnie Kammer (D-Ward 7) will serve on the Economic Development Committee; Robert Hoch (D-Ward 6) will serve on the Public Utilities Committee; and Marilyn Keith (D-Ward 8) will serve on the Rules Committee.
Following the election of Moneypenny, Fusco announced he would step down from his position as Council pro tem in pursuit of racial diversity among the Council’s leadership. Moneypenny, Freeman and Fusco all are white. With praise for his leadership and wisdom beyond his years, Fusco nominated Jones, who is black, to serve as president pro tem.
“I believe we need leadership from the black community in terms of the leadership of this Council,” he said.
Councilwoman Linda Omobien (D-at large) pressed for the election of veteran Councilman Michael Williams (D-at large) — who also is black — instead.
“I am not opposed to divergent points of view,” she said, apparently referring to Williams’ occasional against-the-flow stance on city issues. “I have learned tremendously from Mr. Williams since I’ve been here.”
Omobien, Williams, Kammer and Bruce Kilby (D-Ward 2) voted for Williams. Jones was elected with the vote of eight Council members. Neal abstained.
The next Akron City Council meeting will take place Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.
More Community News
- Property purchase questioned in Akron
- Norton Historical Society celebrates Christmas past
- Meeting set on new Case Elementary building
- County Council gets stuck on sewer rates
- Akron Community Foundation debuts new offices
- Falls Council grants tax abatement to relocating business
- Peninsula switching income tax collection agencies
- Norton Council adding full-timers to fire department
- Copley trustees approve funds to study flooding issues
- Richfield Council considering sites for proposed water tower
- Richfield trustees reject village’s police contract proposal
- Granger trustees discuss road striping payments
- Akron plans to eliminate portion of Innerbelt
- Christmas Box Angel of Hope event Dec. 14
- Foodbank to benefit from Long Haul for Hunger
- Copley firefighter retires after 25 years of service
- GAR Foundation awards grants to 22 nonprofits
- UA Upward Bound program celebrates 50th anniversary
- West Side News & Notes
- Green names new public service director
- Green marks holidays with annual event
- Pipeline officials no-shows at Council meeting
- County Council gets stuck on sewer rates
- Property purchase questioned at Akron City Council
- Portage Lakes designated as Purple Martin Capital of Ohio
- South Side News & Notes
Calendar of Events
- Steve Cipriano - 12/17/2014
- Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Support Group - 12/17/2014
- Akron Symphony Holiday Pops - 12/18/2014
- Yoga in the Park - 12/18/2014
- Weekday Walkers - 12/18/2014