Cleveland Heights City Council appoints Michael Ungar to vacant seat
On April 8, Cleveland Heights City Council announced the appointment of Cleveland Heights resident Michael Ungar to fill the unexpired term of former Council Member Jeff Coryell, whose resignation was effective Dec. 31, 2015. Ungar will officially be sworn in as a council member at the next CH City Council meeting, on Monday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m.
According to an April 8 news release from the City of Cleveland Heights, Ungar is a longtime resident of the city who has served on its planning commission since 1993, and has chaired the commission for 16 years. Prior to that, Ungar was a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee.
Ungar is a partner in the law firm of Ulmer & Berne LLP, where he is chair of the firm’s litigation department and a member of the management committee. He is also past president of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. According to the Ulmer & Berne website, Ungar was named a Top 10 2016 Ohio Super Lawyer (out of approximately 44,000 active attorneys) for the fourth consecutive year.
“This was a difficult choice because each of the 10 applicants brought commitment and different kinds of experience to the table,” stated Cleveland Heights Mayor Cheryl Stephens in the April 8 news release. “However, City Council made the decision to select Michael Ungar as the best candidate.” She added, "[He] will bring solid experience and also a strong commitment to the community of Cleveland Heights and to our City Council. We all look forward to having him as a member of our Council.”
"I am honored and humble to be chosen," said Ungar. "I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.
"The citizens of Cleveland Heights are my new bosses. I want to do what the citizens want. Certainly, there are trends and patterns developing. Economic development continues to be a focal point. There is concern for business districts, some thriving and some in need of assistance."
Asked what he deems to be his priority as a new council member, Ungar said, "So far, I've been impressed with the [city] undertaking the master strategic plan, with the county lending incredible leadership. [The city] has had input from various stakeholders, folks from various neighborhoods and business districts. As a new council member, I'm going to commit to this process."
[In 2015, the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission chose Cleveland Heights as one of four cities it would work with to develop a city master plan. The goals of the county program are “to bring older plans up to date, encourage regional collaboration and focus on action plans that have a strong potential for implementation.” (The other participating cities are University Heights, Parma Heights and Olmsted Falls.)]
Ungar noted that the majority of attendees at the city's Master Plan community meeting in February indicated that Severance Shopping Center was a priority. "I encourage readers to provide input so that their voice is heard,” said Ungar, adding that an actionable CH Master Plan will be presented within months.
“Ours is a uniquely diverse and special community with plenty of challenges and opportunities to be addressed,” said Ungar. “I am excited about the future of our city and our new city leadership, and welcome the opportunity to become a member of that team.”
Andrea C. Turner
Andrea C. Turner is the Heights Observer managing editor.