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West Side News & Notes

8/15/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Summit County Republicans to make recommendations for Common Pleas Court vacancy

WEST AKRON — The Summit County Republican Executive Committee will meet Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Portage Country Club, 240 N. Portage Path, to select three candidates to recommend to Gov. John Kasich to fill a judgeship left open by the July 31 retirement of Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Judy Hunter.

According to party officials, the Executive Committee will make three recommendations for Hunter’s seat to Kasich, who will make the final selection.

Anyone who is interested in receiving a recommendation for the seat may submit a formal written application and résumé no later than 4 p.m. on Aug. 20 to: Alex Arshinkoff, chairman of the Summit County Republican Central Committee, 1755 Merriman Road, Suite 250, Akron, OH 44313.

Executive Committee Chairman Jonathan Pavloff and Arshinkoff have selected an Ad Hoc Screening Committee comprised of officers of the Summit County Republican Central Committee and Executive Committee for the selection process, according to party officials. The Ad Hoc Screening Committee will interview applicants Aug. 22 at noon at the Republican headquarters on Merriman Road. That committee will submit a formal report to the Summit County Republican Executive Committee for its final approval. The Executive Committee will recommend at least three names for Kasich’s consideration, according to party officials.


Proenza announces transition plan to new leadership

DOWNTOWN AKRON — At a regular meeting of The University of Akron’s (UA) Board of Trustees, UA President Luis Proenza announced he will leave his presidency of UA June 30 and take on a full-time faculty role after more than 15 years of leading UA.

The UA Board unanimously approved the plan, and Board Chair Richard Pogue announced the creation of a privately endowed Chair in Higher Education and the Economy, modeled after Proenza’s contributions to UA. The Board of Trustees agreed to lead the effort to fund the chair with $1 million in privately donated monies. 

Proenza will be the inaugural chair holder on July 1, 2016. Following the completion of his presidency on June 30, 2014, he will begin a sabbatical he earned after serving as president for 10 years.

Proenza, who came to UA at the end of 1998, is serving the longest continuous presidency at Ohio’s public universities, according to UA officials. In recent years, he has discussed with trustees a strategy for a seamless transition to new leadership and a new role that would allow him to continue to contribute to higher education and student success.

Proenza will become president emeritus and, in addition to his current tenured professorship in biology, will be named university professor in the Office of Academic Affairs.

It is assumed Proenza will hold the chair for at least 10 years. When he no longer does, it will be renamed the Luis M. Proenza Chair in Higher Education and the Economy.

Other terms of the agreement between Proenza and the Board call for him to receive an increase in base salary Jan. 1, from the current $425,000 to $500,000 during his final six months as president. His current salary of $425,000 has remained unchanged since Jan. 1, 2012. He will be entitled to a sabbatical leave equivalent to one year, with the base salary of $500,000 being the maximum payment during the sabbatical. When he returns to campus to assume his new role as a full-time tenured university professor, his salary will be reduced to 65 percent of his final base pay (or the salary of the highest paid full-time faculty member at The University of Akron, whichever is greater). 

Proenza agreed to the 65 percent level in lieu of the 80 percent figure to which he was entitled under his original contract, according to UA officials. The agreement remains in force until the end of 2026, as long as Proenza remains a valued contributor to UA under the terms of the agreement. In addition, an annual privately funded stipend of $50,000 will be provided as the endowed chair holder, beginning July 1, 2016. 

Pogue indicated that a special meeting of the Board would be held in September to begin the search process for the next UA president.


Volunteers needed for Citizens Review Board

GREATER AKRON — The Summit County Juvenile Court is seeking volunteers for its Citizens Review Board.

According to Juvenile Court officials, Citizens Review Board members are asked to review the status of children in the permanent custody of the Summit County Children Services (SCCS). The board ensures the needs of the children are being met and SCCS is using reasonable efforts to facilitate the child’s permanency plan, which is typically adoption, according to Juvenile Court officials.

Board members review each case at least once every six months and more frequently, if necessary. The normal time commitment is a half-day twice a month and, initially, the length of an appointment varies from one to three years, according to Juvenile Court officials. For this particular opening, the candidates should be available during business hours twice a month on Wednesday afternoons.

The board, in collaboration with the magistrate, has the authority to issue orders during and after the review hearings to maintain the child’s welfare or permanency plan, according to Juvenile Court officials.

Board candidates will have to undergo a background check, and if approved, will be trained by the court.

According to Juvenile Court officials, the board operates pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code and is supervised by Magistrate Rita Rochford under the direct authority of Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio.

“This is a great chance to have a real impact on the lives of children,” said Teodosio. “The Citizens Review Board gives the child another voice in the process of finding them a suitable, loving home. It’s a process we take very seriously.”

According to Juvenile Court officials, as noted in the Ohio Revised Code, volunteers should have some background in the areas of education, social services, medicine, psychology or related fields.

Interested parties should contact Rochford at 330-643-2963 or via email at rrochford@cpcourt.summitoh.net.


NEFCO accepting nominations for brownfields grant

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization (NEFCO) is accepting nominations of brownfields properties from individuals and entities interested in receiving a brownfields environmental assessment grant under the Summit County Brownfields Program.

Brownfields are abandoned or under-used industrial, commercial or institutional properties with suspected or known contamination involving hazardous substances or petroleum.

Properties must be eligible for assistance under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules. NEFCO is the lead recipient of an EPA Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant for Summit County communities only. NEFCO; the Mayors Association of Portage, Summit and Stark Counties; and the Development Financial Authority of Summit County are coalition members for this grant.

Activities that might be funded typically consist of Phase I and II investigations and planning for the redevelopment of a brownfield. Funds cannot be used to clean up brownfields.

A nomination form must be submitted to begin the process of requesting consideration for these funds. NEFCO will review the nomination form and possibly follow up with an application requesting grant funds.

For more information, contact Sylvia Chinn-Levy, program manager for economic development planning, at 330-252-0337. A nomination form can be downloaded by visiting www.nefcoplanning.org. The deadline for receiving nominations of brownfields sites is Aug. 26.


Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.

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