About Council

 

Council Committees

City council operates under a committee system with 9 standing committees. The president of council is an ex-officio member of all standing committees. Committee members are appointed by Council leadership

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.

Following are the committees of council for 2020 through 2022. Committees meet as needed and only when they have pending legislation.

 

 

 

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

Linda Omobien, At Large, Vice Chair

Shammas Malik, Ward 8

Ginger Baylor, At Large

Phil Lombardo, Ward 2

 

Planning & Economic Development

Matters referred to the Planning & Economic Development Committee include legislation concerning development, education and jobs, capital budget, zoning changes, sale and/or purchase of land, JEDD (Joint Economic Development District) projects and those that have potential to retain and attract people and projects that will result in economic growth.

Jeff Fusco, At Large, Chair

Donnie Kammer, Ward 7, Vice Chair

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1

Ginger Baylor, At Large

Tara Samples, Ward 5

 

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

Ginger Baylor, At Large

Russ Neal, Ward 4

Phil Lombardo, Ward 2

 

Housing & Neighborhood Assistance

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

Jeff Fusco, At Large, Chair

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1, Vice Chair

Tara Samples, Ward 5

Brad McKitrick, Ward 6

Sharon Connor, Ward 10

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

Tara Samples, Ward 5, Vice Chair

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1

Shammas Malik, Ward 8

Brad McKitrick, 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.

Tara Samples, Ward 5, Chair

Donnie Kammer, Ward 7, Vice Chair

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1

Phil Lombardo, Ward 2

Brad McKitrick, Ward 6

 

 

Public Utilities & Green

Matters referred to the Public Utilities & Green Committee include sewer rates, contracts for materials and supplies needed for the Public Utilities Bureau, utilities that provide service in the city, and the city's green infrastructure. The committee serves as a forum for environmentally-friendly ideas and acts as a catalyst for implementation of green practices.

Rich Swirsky, Ward 1, Chair

Mike Freeman, Ward 9, Vice Chair

Sharon Connor, Ward 10

Tara Samples, Ward 5

Brad McKitrick, Ward 6

 

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

Tara Samples, Ward 5, Vice Chair

Shammas Malik, Ward 8

Phil Lombardo, Ward 2

Sharon Connor, Ward 10

 

Rules

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

Mike Freeman, Ward 9, Chair

Jeff Fusco, At Large, Vice Chair

Linda Omobien, At Large

Sharon Connor, Ward 10

Shammas Malik, Ward 8

 

 

 

 

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 the month of August and the last two weeks of December.

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. Only items on that notice 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
  • 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 12:00 p.m. on the Friday 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.
  • Public Comment Period: The public is invited to speak to council at the end of every meeting during the Public Comment Period. They must submit a Public Comment Form prior to the meeting. The form can be accessed here. Citizen comments are limited to three minutes and must address matters within council’s authority.
  • Scheduling of committee meetings for the following meeting
  • Adjournment

 

 

Special Meetings

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. Only items included in the Special Meeting Notice may be discussed at the special meeting.

City council may also hold a caucus. Issues may be discussed, but no votes or formal action are taken. 

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. A Public Comment Form is required. 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 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. 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.