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Akron Councilman Kilby resigns

11/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

DOWNTOWN AKRON — One of Akron City Council’s more outspoken members made a quiet exit Nov. 18, just weeks before his term in office ends.

Bruce Kilby, who serves East Akron’s Ward 2, lost a bid for an at-large seat in the September Primary election, effectively forcing him off Council. Due to the 2010 redistricting, Kilby now lives in the same ward as Councilman Jim Hurley (D-Ward 1) and opted not to run against Hurley for the Ward 2 seat. Hurley ran unopposed for that seat.

“Good luck to everybody here,” Kilby said just before Council approved a resolution accepting his resignation. “I’m going to take my pension, and that’s it.”

On Nov. 12, Kilby submitted a handwritten letter tendering his resignation effective Nov. 30. The letter does not give a reason for his resigning, but after the Council meeting, Kilby spoke with reporters and said that it was beneficial for his state pension for him to retire by Nov. 30.

Several Council members spoke during the meeting to express their appreciation to Kilby.

Councilman Mike Freeman (D-Ward 9) said he once watched Kilby at Kenmore Community Days with his grandchildren, and he encouraged Kilby to continue to do what he was doing at that festival with his grandchildren: “Love them up and let them get in your pockets.”

“You were always an advocate for the citizens of Akron,” said Councilman Michael Williams (D-at large), a sentiment that was echoed by fellow at-large member Linda Omobien.

“Thank you very much for your service,” she said.

“I just want to say thank you for being a different voice,” said Councilman Russel Neal Jr. (D-Ward 4). “I do appreciate that difference.”

Neal and Council President Garry Moneypenny (D-Ward 10) both said it was clear Kilby’s constituents appreciated his representation.

Moneypenny noted that his and Kilby’s relationship has been a respectful one, impressive because Kilby lost to Moneypenny in a municipal election to the Ward 10 seat. Kilby served on Council from 1994 to 2002 as the Ward 10 representative. After redistricting, he won the Ward 2 seat in 2005 and has held it since.

“It’s not easy to be a public servant,” Moneypenny said. “You always stood by your guns.”

After the meeting, Kilby waved off suggestions of one day making a political comeback, while also keeping that door open.

“I doubt it,” he said. “Who knows what’s going to happen, though.”

He did voice his philosophy that “Council needs to operate independently and not be dominated by the executive,” hearkening to his acrimonious relationship with Mayor Don Plusquellic.

In other legislative action, Council approved:

  • a conditional use for a new laundromat and parking at 804 Copley Road, which Neal, the councilman for that area, said will be a welcome addition that hopefully will stimulate more economic development;
  • a conditional use for the placement of signs at St. Sebastian Parish’s campus to direct visitors;
  • an annual ordinance putting a temporary budget into place for the first quarter of the year for the city while Council holds budget hearings in anticipation of setting the 2014 operating budget in March. The temporary appropriation totals $123.4 million; and
  • the $54,775 lease of five packing trucks for the 2013 leaf pick-up season. Council’s Public Service Committee discussed the current leaf pick-up. Public Service Director John Moore said that a second round of leaf pick-up would take place as needed.

The next Council meeting will take place Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. in Downtown Akron. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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