About Council

 

Council Committees

City council operates under a committee system with 10 standing committees. The president of council is an ex-officio member of all standing committees. Committee members are appointed by a Committee on Committees, which is chaired by the president of council.

Matters that come before council are assigned by the president to the appropriate committee. The Agenda and New Legislation List summarize all legislation to be considered by each committee that week.

Committees hold open meetings on Monday afternoons to discuss the issues before them and make reports and recommendations to the full body of council. The committees’ recommendations usually are adopted by council. Therefore, citizens wishing to be heard on issues are encouraged to voice their concerns at the appropriate committee meetings.

Following are the committees of council for 2016 through 2019. The Committee on Committees and Rules Committee meet as needed.

 

Committee on Committees

The Committee on Committees consists of the five members of council with the most seniority who select the members to serve on all standing committees.

Marilyn Keith, Ward 8 & Council President, Chair

Jeff Fusco, At Large, Vice Chair

Mike Freeman, Ward 9

Bruce Kilby, Ward 2

Linda Omobien, At Large

 

 

Budget & Finance

Matters referred to the Budget & Finance Committee include the City of Akron operating and appropriation budgets, note and bond legislation and various contracts.

Mike Freeman, Ward 9, Chair

Margo Sommerville, Ward 3, Vice Chair

Bob Hoch, Ward 6

Zack Milkovich, Ward 10

Linda Omobien, At Large

 

Economic Development

Matters referred to the Economic Development Committee include legislation concerning development, education and jobs, and those that have potential to retain and attract people and projects that will result in economic growth.

Margo Sommerville, Ward 3, Chair

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1, Vice Chair

Donnie Kammer, Ward 7

Zack Milkovich, Ward 10

Bob Hoch, Ward 6

 

Health & Social Service

Matters referred to the Health and Social Service Committee include contracts for materials, supplies and services, including physicians and nurses needed to run Health Department clinics.

Linda Omobien, At Large, Chair

Mike Freeman, Ward 9, Vice Chair

Veronica Sims, At Large

Russ Neal, Ward 4

Zack Milkovich, Ward 1 

 

Housing

Matters referred to the Housing Committee include contracts for materials and supplies needed for the Housing Division of the Health Department and appointments to the Housing Appeals Board.

Tara Mosley-Samples, Chair

Jeff Fusco, At Large, Vice Chair

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1

Zack Milkovich, Ward 10

Donnie Kammer, Ward 7

 

Parks & Recreation

Matters referred to the Parks and Recreation Committee include contracts for materials and supplies needed for city parks and community centers, and appointments to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

Russ Neal, Ward 4, Chair

Mike Freeman, Ward 9, Vice Chair

Donnie Kammer, Ward 7

Veronica Sims, At Large

Tara Mosley-Samples, Ward 5

 

Planning

Matters referred to the Planning Committee include the capital budget, zoning changes, sale and/or purchase of land, JEDD (Joint Economic Development District) projects and economic development within the City of Akron.

Jeff Fusco, At Large, Chair

Linda Omobien, At Large, Vice Chair

Donnie Kammer, Ward 7

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1

Russ Neal, Ward 4

 

Public Safety

Matters referred to the Public Safety Committee include contracts for materials and supplies needed for the police and fire departments, approving police towing districts and city safety issues such as speed limits, leash laws and dangerous animals.

Donnie Kammer, Ward 7, Chair

Margo Sommerville, Ward 3, Vice Chair

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1

Veronica Sims, At Large

Bob Hoch, Ward 6

 

Public Service

Matters referred to the Public Service Committee include street improvements, special assessments and contracts for materials and supplies needed in the Department of Public Service.

Bob Hoch, Ward 6, Chair

Donnie Kammer, Ward 7, Vice Chair

Jeff Fusco, At Large

Veronica Sims, At Large

Tara Mosley-Samples, Ward 5

 

 

Public Utilities

Matters referred to the Public Utilities Committee include sewer rates, contracts for materials and supplies needed for the Public Utilities Bureau, and utilities that provide service in the city.

Russ Neal, Ward 4, Chair

Bruce Kilby, Ward 2, Vice Chair

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1

Bob Hoch, ward 6

Mike Freeman, Ward 9

 

Green/Sustainability

A committee that addresses the city's green infrastructure, serves as a forum for environmentally-friendly ideas and acts as a catalyst for implementation of green practices.

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1, Chair

Russ Neal, Ward 4, Vice Chair

Bruce Kilby, Ward 2

Bob Hoch, Ward 6

Donnie Kammer, Ward 7

 

Rules

The Rules Committee adopts the Rules of Procedure for Council, sets times for City Council meetings and accepts Council member resignations.

Margo Sommerville, Ward 3, Chair

Bob Hoch, Ward 6, Vice Chair

Mike Freeman, Ward 9

Jeff Fusco, At Large

Linda Omobien, At Large

 

 

When Council Meets

Council meets each Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. in council chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 South High Street. City Council does not meet when a national holiday falls on a Monday, and recesses for one month in summer and two weeks in winter.

A caucus and special meetings of city council may be called by the mayor, the president of council or by two council members, provided 12 hours notice has been given to each council member and to the public. An agenda for a special meeting must be provided at that time and only items on that agenda may be considered at the Special Meeting.

The general order of council business during Monday evening meetings is as follows:

  • Roll call
  • Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance
  • Reading of communications from citizens, the administration and other government agencies
  • Regular Agenda: includes public hearings, reports of standing and special committees, and consideration of ordinances and resolutions held over from previous readings. A vote may be made or time may be taken on legislation.
  • New Legislation: first readings of newly proposed ordinances and resolutions, which are those submitted to the Clerk of Council by 9:30 a.m. Monday prior to the council meeting. New legislation may be scheduled for public hearings, time may be taken, or committee recommendations may be made and council may vote on the legislation.
  • Scheduling of committee meetings for the following week
  • Public Comment Period: The public is invited to speak to council at the end of every meeting during the Public Comment Period. Citizen comments are limited to three minutes and must address matters within council’s authority.
  • Adjournment

 

 

Special Meetings

City council may hold a caucus at 5:00 p.m. on Monday evenings prior to regular council meetings. Issues to be taken up on that evening’s regular agenda are discussed at a caucus and presentations are made on specific issues, but no votes or formal action are taken. 

A special meeting of council may be called by the mayor, the president of council, or by two council members, provided 12 hours notice has been given to each council member and to the public. An agenda for the special meeting must be provided at that time and only items on that agenda may be considered at the special meeting.

 

Municipal Building and City Council’s grand chambers

The Municipal Building that houses the administration and council offices was built between 1924 and 1926. It is an Italian Renaissance Revival building that stands nine stories. Akron’s foremost architectural firm of the 1920s, Good & Wagner, designed the building’s granite and sandstone exterior to harmonize with the buff colored Akron Armory and the Summit County Courthouse, both across from it on High Street.

At the time of its construction, typical city hall structures were grand monuments with spacious corridors and lobbies similar to public libraries and museums. Good & Wagner departed from the norm to create a modern, fireproof office building constructed entirely of stone, steel and concrete. The building’s large windows to let in natural light and its extensive use of electric lighting were notable for the era. Other features include an arched entrance; a two story domed lobby with granite floors and a suspended light described as a decorated globe representing the world, surrounded by a ring in which the signs of the zodiac were pierced and wrought; and a winding stairway with wrought iron railings.

City offices occupied floors one through six. The seventh floor housed the Municipal Art Gallery. Miss Harriet L. Phillips, an Akron artist who had moved to New York, donated a valuable collection of her work to serve as the nucleus of the new gallery. On the eighth floor were three Municipal courtrooms featuring wainscot, railings, trim and platforms made of American walnut.

On the third floor are the grand chambers of City Council: 25 feet wide, 52 feet long and 21 feet high, the design was inspired by Italian Renaissance interiors in Florence and Siena that still survive. The walls are wood paneled to 8 feet high with antiqued plaster above. All of the paneling, doors and intricate carvings inside chambers are made from American walnut.

Perhaps the most eye-catching feature in Council Chambers is the wood beam ceiling. But those beams and scrolls are not real wood. They are plaster molded and hand painted to simulate an Italian wood beam ceiling. Three large electric fixtures were suspended from the beam ceiling. The original fixtures were rusty antique iron replicas of fixtures in Davanzati Palace, a 14th century structure that is now an art museum in Florence.


 

 

 


 

 

 

Council Terminology

Abstain: When a member of council elects not to vote on a particular motion. 

Amend: A proposal to alter the text of an ordinance or resolution by substituting, adding, or deleting language. 

Chairperson: The member of council who presides over a particular committee and its meetings. In the absence of the chairperson the vice-chairperson shall preside over the committee.

Clerk of Council: An employee of city council, he or she is responsible of managing the council office, distributing information to council members, preparing notices for public hearings, recording council actions during meetings and preparing the minutes of the meetings.

Committee: A smaller group of members of council that meet to consider legislation before it is considered or voted upon by all of council. Standing committees are established by the Rules of Procedure of Council and have five members each. Special committees are appointed by the president. Committee meetings take place on Monday afternoons.

Consent Agenda: One or more ordinances and/or resolutions that can be acted on at one time under a single motion. The consent agenda usually is composed of routine legislation that does not require any discussion.

Declaring an Emergency: Allows council to dispense with the requirement that a piece of legislation be read at three separate council meetings, and allows the legislation to go into effect earlier than 30 days from passage of the legislation.

Executive Session: A closed-door session of council for the purpose of discussing a particular confidential matter, in accordance with law.

Legislation: An official act of council that takes the form of either an ordinance or a resolution.

Minutes: The official record of a meeting of council or a committee of council.

Motion: A formal request for consideration of a proposal for action by council members. Examples include a motion to pass an ordinance, a motion to amend, or a motion for time.

Ordinance: A formal act of council. Examples of ordinance topics include: authorizing the Director of Public Service to enter into a contract for the construction of a project, approving a union agreement, approving a conditional use application, or amending the Codified Ordinances of the City.

President: The member of council who presides over council and its meetings. In the absence of the president, the vice president shall be the presiding officer. In the absence of both the president and the vice president the president pro tem shall be the presiding officer.

Public Hearing: When a hearing is held before council or a committee of council on a particular piece of legislation. Members of the public wishing to testify before council at a public hearing are asked to first take an oath to swear or affirm that the testimony they will provide is the truth.

Public Comment Period: The portion of a regular council meeting where members of the public are invited to address council for three minutes on topics that are germane and relevant to council business. Members of the public are asked to provide their name and address, and to refrain from making personal attacks or disrespectful remarks.

Quorum: The minimum number of members who must be present to officially conduct business. A quorum of council is a majority of the all of the members of council, a quorum of a committee is three members.

Refer: When council delays taking on a piece of new legislation until a future meeting, the committee chair will as for the item to be referred to the regular agenda of the next meeting. It is the same as taking time.

Resolution: A formal expression of the opinion or will of council. Examples of resolution topics include congratulating a local high school that has won a state championship, supporting or opposing a bill pending before the Ohio General Assembly, or approving the appointment of members of a board or commission.

Second: An indication by a member of council, other than the member who made the motion, that he or she agrees that the proposed motion should be considered.

Substitute offered as an Amendment: An amended version of an ordinance or resolution that replaces an earlier version before council.

Suspension of the Rules: Procedural rules require that legislation be read at three council meetings before a vote (see Declaring an Emergency). When there is a need to pass legislation immediately, the committee chair or sponsoring council representative may ask for a Suspension of the Rules to allow an immediate vote on the legislation.

Roberts Rules of Order: A manual on parliamentary procedure. In the absence of any provision governing matters of business in either the Rules of Procedure of Council, the laws of the State of Ohio, or the City Charter, Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall be the standard of parliamentary procedure for Council. 

Roll Call: When the names of council members are called out by the Clerk of Council to confirm their vote on the previous motion.

Time: similar to Refer, it is when council delays taking any action on a piece of legislation on the regular agenda until a future meeting. 

Vote: "Aye" or “Yea" is an affirmative or favorable vote on a motion. "Nay" or “No" is a negative or unfavorable vote on a motion.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I speak at a Council meeting?

Yes. There is a Public Comment Period at the conclusion of each regular council meeting. Akron citizens can address council for three minutes on any matter that is within council's authority during the Public Comment Period. You will be asked to give your name and address and sign in for the record, and your remarks will be limited to three minutes. You must address council - not the members of the administration in attendance or the audience - and you cannot verbally attack any council representative.

If you wish to address council outside of the Public Comment Period, you may submit a written request to the president of council. Submit your request no later than Friday prior to the scheduled city council meeting at which you would like to speak. Specify the topic you want to discuss. The council president will consider your request and either instruct the clerk of council to notify you of your appointed time to address council or refer you to your ward councilperson or the appropriate committee for action.

How can I voice my opinion at a Committee meeting?

Unless you are speaking at a public hearing, you will need to contact the committee chairperson prior to that particular committee meeting and request to speak. Committees meet on Monday afternoons. Check the committee meeting schedule weekly to see which committees are meeting and when.

How can I participate in a Public Hearing?

Notices of all Public Hearings are published in the Akron Beacon Journal classified section and on this website. You can present an argument for or against the proposed legislation during the committee meeting in which that legislation is being discussed and during the regular council meeting. You may speak only about the legislation being considered, and your comments are limited to three minutes in length. Other comments can be made during the Public Speaking period of council. When you speak:

    Give your name (including the spelling of your last name) and address for the record.

    Limit your remarks to the time allotted.

    Clearly state your point and present any factual evidence to back up your point.

    Avoid repetition. If a point has been made by a previous speaker, simply indicate your support or disagreement, unless you have new information. 

How much can I contribute to a campaign fund?

Campaign finance election laws limit contributions citizens may make to council members or candidates for council as follows:

    $500 maximum to any ward councilperson or candidate participating in a primary election.

    $500 maximum to any ward councilperson or candidate participating in a general election.

    $750 maximum to any at large councilperson or candidate participating in a primary election.

    $750 maximum to any at large councilperson or candidate participating in a general election.

These limits are on contributions made by check. Cash contributions to candidates are limited to $25. For a more complete explanation of who is a candidate and what constitutes a contribution, see the Akron Municipal Code Section 30.11 and 30.12.