General election changes Council makeup

November 04, 2009

Some new and familiar names returned from the past will answer the roll call in Akron City Council chambers in January, as a result of Tuesday night’s election results.

Five new or former Council members will join their reelected incumbent peers around the Council horseshoe this winter, including two at-large and three ward representatives chosen by voters.  The new, all Democratic members are:

  • Linda Omobien – At Large
  • Jeff Fusco –  At Large
  • Russel Neal Jr. – Ward 4
  • Robert Otterman – Ward 6
  • Sandra Kurt – Ward 8

The two new at-large council representatives will replace Jim Shealey and John Conti, and will serve with incumbent Council veteran Michael Williams.

Neal replaces long-time Ward 4 Councilwoman Renee Greene; Otterman returns to his former Ward 6 seat, replacing Terry Albanese – who sought and lost a bid for an at-large seat; and Sandra Kurt replaces appointed Ward 8 Councilman Raymond W. Cox III – assigned to Bob Keith’s post when he was named Council clerk.

Other Council incumbents prevailed  handily over opponents or ran unopposed in their respective wards, including: James P. Hurley III, W-1; Bruce Kilby, W-2; Marco Sommerville, W-3; Kenneth L. Jones, W-5; Tina Merlitti, W-7; Mike Freeman, W-9; and Kelli Crawford, W-10.

The new Council will be sworn in at the start of the last Council meeting of the year, at 7 p.m. Monday Dec. 14 in Council chambers, 166 S. High St., third floor.

In other election news, the Council-supported charter amendment to raise the number of required signatures on a mayoral recall ballot passed by a nearly 3-1 ratio.  As a result, the charter will require that mayoral recall petitions be signed by 20 percent of the city's registered voters, as opposed to just 20 percent of those who voted in the prior municipal election.

Council proposed the ballot initiative after a June election to recall the mayor failed, also by a 3-1 ratio.