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Candidates apply for Akron Ward 3 seat

1/3/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Nine interviewed for seat vacated by Marco Sommerville

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Eleven applicants submitted letters of interest for the Akron City Council Ward 3 seat held by Marco Sommerville.

Sommerville, 60, stepped down from his seat effective Jan. 1 to become the city’s new planning director. According to city officials, Sommerville, who has represented West Akron’s Ward 3 for more than 25 years and served 14 as Council president, was appointed to the position by Mayor Don Plusquellic in December. His annual salary for his new position is $122,866.

Résumés were accepted for the next Ward 3 Council member until Dec. 27. Out of the 11 who applied for the seat, two — Valerie Jackson and Stephen Muhammad — were found to be ineligible because they live in Ward 4, according to Council officials. Candidates were required to live in Ward 3 for at least one year and be 18 or older.

According to Council officials, a Council committee met Dec. 28 and 29 to interview the eligible candidates and is expected to make a recommendation to Akron City Council when it returns from its holiday break Jan. 7.

According to Council officials, the person selected as the Ward 3 representative will have to run in the Nov. 5 General Election to keep the seat. The two-year seat pays $33,010 annually. Afterward, the position becomes a four-year term, according to a charter amendment approved by voters this past November.

The following is a brief description of the seven eligible applicants, according to the information submitted to Council by the applicants.

• Michael Bradley: A graduate of Chamberlin High School in Twinsburg, Bradley was a notary public from 1978 to 2009 and an employee of The University of Akron’s Building Services from 2006 to 2007. He also worked in the FirstMerit mailroom in 2000. He ran unsuccessfully for Streetsboro City Council in 1991 and for Streetsboro City Schools Board of Education in 1983. He was a member of the Streetsboro Charter Review Commission in 1991.

• Anthony Brown: A graduate of Buchtel High School, Brown has worked at the Manchester Road Acme as a perishables manager since 1973. From 1989 to 2007, he was president of Brown’s Maintenance Insulation. He is a South Akron Block Club member, an ordained minister and has worked and volunteered with various community groups.

• Michael Dowdell: A graduate of The University of Akron (UA) with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management, Dowdell has been a member of Akron’s Planning Commission for 11 years. His professional experience includes 24 years of financial, real estate and development experience, with his most recent position being a lien clearance examiner for Old Republic National Title Insurance Co., which he’s held for about a year. He previously was an in-store retail branch manager for U.S. Bank and also was a sales director and independent consultant for West Akron Neighborhood Development Corp. in 2011.

• Andrae Long: Long’s only education listed was being a student at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting in 2005. He has been a youth voice coordinator with Akron Neighborhood Trust since June. Previously, he was a democracy fellow for Ohio Prophetic Voices and a canvasser for Citizens for a Better Akron, and was the lead coordinator for Campaign for Primary Accountability in Cleveland.

• Nyere McGuire: McGuire has an associate’s degree in marketing and sales from UA. He has been owner and CEO of Level III Fashions Inc. since 1993 and is president of the Copley Road Merchant Association. Previously, he worked at several retail establishments in various capacities. He also worked for the Muscular Dystrophy Association as an event coordinator from 2000 to 2003.

• Wanda Rookard: A graduate of Buchtel, Rookard is president of the Trigonia Drive and Rhodes Avenue Block Club. She also is a Summit County precinct committee member, a parent-teacher liaison with Akron Public Schools (APS) and a facilitator and member of Project Ujima. Rookard also managed APS Board of Education member Ginger Baylor’s campaign.

• Ibrahim Saoud: A graduate of Buchtel, he is enrolled in the deaf interpretive services program at Cuyahoga Community College. He is a youth director and executive board member in charge of public relations for Akron Masjid and is an assistant manager at Subi Inc. Gas and Save. He previously was owner and operator of Bernard Tire in Youngstown and a manager at USA Pizza in Akron. He also was a committee member of the Global Village Festival of Akron.

• Margo Sommerville: Daughter of Marco Sommerville, Margo has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Lincoln University and a master’s in public administration from UA. She has been vice president and funeral director since 2004 at Sommerville Funeral Services Inc., which is owned by her father. She has been involved with and is a past board member of several Akron area organizations.

• Grandville Weems: Weems indicated he attended Ellet and Buchtel high schools, as well as The University of Mount Union, Kentucky State University and UA. He was a supervisor and team leader for Arthur Middleton Capital Holding Inc. in Canton from 2006 to 2012. He also was an inventory coordinator for Snyder & Blake from 2004 to 2005. He served as public relations and campaign manager from 2002 to 2004 for the campaign of his wife, Jerusalem Weems, who ran for the Ward 3 seat on Council.

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