Akron Councilman Bruce Kilby is leaving council earlier than expected, but only by a few weeks.
Kilby, the Ward 2 councilman, submitted his resignation to council Friday, saying he will resign effective Nov. 30. He lost his bid for an at-large seat in the Nov. 5 election.
Kilby’s decision had his council members scratching their heads, wondering why he wanted to step down from council early. Even his closest ally was in the dark.
“I have no freaking idea,” at-large Councilman Mike Williams said during a committee meeting Monday.
Kilby, who served 16 years during two stints on council, said Monday that he is resigning because of state pension changes that required him to retire by Nov. 30.
“Good luck to everybody here,” he said.
Council will have only three meetings in December after Kilby’s resignation and council won’t bother to replace him for this short period, said Council President Garry Moneypenny.
Ward 2 constituents who have questions during this interim can call any at-large council member or the council clerk’s office at 330-375-2256, Moneypenny said.
A redrawing of the ward boundaries after the census put Kilby in the new Ward 2, primarily centered in North Hill, with Councilman Jim Hurley. Rather than going head-to-head with Hurley, Kilby opted to run at-large, losing in the September primary to the three current, Democratic at-large council members, Williams, Linda Omobien and Jeff Fusco, all who also are veteran politicians.
Kilby, 63, a retired teacher, has often butted heads with Mayor Don Plusquellic and the council majority that supports the mayor. Plusquellic sent out a flier against Kilby in the primary. Kilby mailed a piece against Fusco, who is a close ally of Plusquellic.
Council members passed a resolution Monday accepting Kilby’s resolution and thanking him for his service.
“You were always an advocate for the citizens of Akron,” said Williams. “We had spirited debate and disagreements. That’s what’s supposed to happen around this horseshoe.”
Councilman Russel Neal, Jr. echoed this thought, saying, “Thank you for being a different voice.”
Moneypenny, who defeated Kilby for his original ward seat, said Kilby’s constituents, particularly the elderly ones, liked him.
“You always stood by your guns,” he said. “You haven’t changed.”
Asked after the council meeting whether he’d try for a political comeback some day, Kilby said, “I doubt it.”
He then added, “Who knows what’s going to happen?”