Beacon Journal staff writer
Thirteen people have applied for Akron's Ward 8 City Council seat a large number, but not as many as threw their hats into the ring the last time the spot was open.
The candidates, as expected, include a few with well-known names: James Hardy, an Akron school board member; Bruce Bolden, a former Akron councilman who ran for the Ward 8 spot in 2009; and Marilyn Keith, a longtime Akron educator and the wife of Bob Keith, the former Ward 8 councilman and current council clerk.
The applicants also include Elizabeth Smith, a Republican candidate for Ward 8 two years ago; Willie Watts Jr., who has run for council; and Michael Dalton, who has never held public office but has been involved in politics, including working for U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, on several campaigns and at the Summit County elections board.
Also applying were: Janine Latimer, an administrative assistant with Pastoral Counseling of Summit County Inc.; Karen Mallison, a retired teacher in Barberton and Akron; Phillip Montgomery, a supervisor with Time Warner Cable; and Devin Oddo, a Cleveland attorney.
The other candidates are: Alexander Papp, an assistant professor at Cuyahoga Community College; Edward Spencer Muse, an attorney with Cassetty Muse & Pry in Mogadore; and Matthew Wachter, a regulatory compliance analyst for Westfield Group, an insurance company.
The application deadline was Wednesday afternoon.
A screening committee made up of five council members and chaired by Councilwoman Tina Merlitti will interview the candidates the weekend of March 26 and make a recommendation the following Monday.
''We're looking for someone who already is involved in the community and has a good history of community service and participation,'' Merlitti said.
She said they also want someone who will ''hit the ground running'' because he or she will have to run this year to keep the seat.
''Ward 8 is a large and very active ward. There are a lot of people to reach out to,'' Merlitti said.
Other screening committee members are Council President Marco Sommerville, Kelli Crawford, Mike Freeman and Ken Jones.
The chosen candidate will fulfill the remainder of Councilwoman Sandra Kurt's term, which runs through the end of the year. He or she will have to run in the September primary and the November general election to hold the seat. The filing deadline for the primary is in mid-June.
Kurt recently was appointed to an at-large Summit County Council seat.
The last time the Ward 8 seat came open when Keith became council clerk in 2009 20 people applied. Kurt wasn't council's choice, but she won the seat in the election.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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