Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 1-3-22
JANUARY 3, 2022 – Regular Meeting
- Clerk of council report
- Council action
- Council member comments
Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, and council members Craig Cobb, Tony Cuda, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Anthony Mattox, Jr. Council Member Josie Moore was excused. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. Council met for about one and a quarter hour.
Clerk of council report
Clerk of Council Himmelein called the meeting to order and reported the results of the November 2, 2021, election at which Khalil Seren was elected mayor and Davida Russell, Craig Cobb, Anthony Cuda, Anthony Mattox Jr., and Josephine Moore were elected as council members.
No legislation was read or voted upon at this meeting.
The mayor and newly elected members took the oath of office. Council elected Melody Hart to be council president and Craig Cobb, vice president and accepted Mr. Seren’s December 31, 2021, resignation from council.
Committees were not formed as a new housing committee is to be added when relevant legislation is enacted January 10. Ms. Hart notified members that they must all attend a training session on the Open Meetings Act, Wednesday, Jan. 26.
Council member comments
Mayor Seren thanked Natalie, his “partner in this and all things;” his moms, Mary and Leslie; his in-laws; and the people of Cleveland Heights. He spoke about a new era of partnership between the people and our government, saying he is excited to get to work building a new form of government and tending to the needs and priorities of the people. He thanked incoming council members, noting the energy they bring, and is looking forward to working with them.
Mr. Cobb, noting this is his third time taking the oath of office for city council, thanked his wife, Ruth, his son, and the voters for their trust and faith in him. He welcomed the new members and the new mayor.
Mr. Cuda commented on the change of city government and the swearing in of five members this evening and one more next month, as well as the need to fill key staff positions. There are many questions to be answered by this new council—learning to work with the mayor, developing checks and balances, and getting results for residents. His priorities, developed from talking with residents, are housing, high taxes, better services for the taxes we pay, responsiveness from city hall and council, working with the school district, and crime—especially speeding and running stop signs. He pledged to deliver public service, to work with and help the schools, and to be transparent and responsive with council and citizens. Mr. Cuda thanked the Citizens for an Elected Mayor, his wife Sandy, and his late mother who moved the family to Cleveland Heights in 1960.
Ms. Hart thanked council for trusting her to be president and pledged transparency, openness, and improvement. The first few months will be very new, even for the three with council experience. Important work needs to be done. Cleveland Heights is one city, not a north and a south city; all members represent the entire city and every neighborhood must thrive.
Mr. Mattox thanked residents for their support and also his family and church. He is looking forward to working with council and the mayor.
Ms. Russell noted that she had advocated to be elected president or vice president because she received the highest number of votes, had seniority on council, and lives north of Mayfield Road. Having not gotten either position, she said she will demonstrate her leadership by agreeing to move forward and cooperate. Ms. Russell thanked voters for her reelection, adding she is honored and humbled. She reflected on the past and focused on the future, saying council must be accountable to the people and develop goals for the next four years that will sustain Cleveland Heights for its next 100 years.
LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.
Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: https://www.clevelandheights.com/1142/2021-Agendas-and-Minutes.
Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of Cleveland Heights, OH” YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ClevelandHeightsOH.