By Gina Mace
Special to the Beacon Journal
CUYAHOGA FALLS: The two members of Cuyahoga Falls Ward 4 Democratic central committee chose a city native and nurse as their new council representative.
Mary Nichols-Rhodes then promptly took the oath of office from Summit County Common Pleas Judge Paul Gallagher in Rocco’s Pizza party room on Wednesday.
She replaces Mark Ihasz, who resigned from council July 12 because he is moving out of state.
Ihasz, one of the Ward 4 central committee members, nominated Nichols-Rhodes to take his place.
Nichols-Rhodes has filed to run for the seat in November. She will face Republican challenger Robert Weinhardt.
Nichols-Rhodes said she is committed to the community.
“I will be an advocate for people who live here,” she said. “As a nurse, I identify a person’s problem, set goals, determine an intervention to achieve these goals, review and if it’s not working, try something else.”
Nichols-Rhodes said she will use the same strategy to “tackle problems and get things done on City Council.”
Her first official act will be a joint ward meeting with Ward 5 Councilman Paul Colavecchio on Aug. 15 at Lions Park Lodge.
“I’ve been talking to people who have questions about the park,” she said. “People wonder if it is safe to go to Lions Park. People don’t want to send their kids there by themselves.”
There was a bit of controversy before Nichols-Rhodes was chosen.
Summit County Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Jones attempted to close nominations after Ihasz spoke on Nichols-Rhodes’ behalf. Attorney and Ward 4 resident Gus O’Neil told Jones he, too, had applied for the seat and wanted to be heard.
Jones and first vice-chair Tim Gorbach told O’Neil he had to be nominated by a central committee member from Ward 4.
“That’s not what it says in the paper,” O’Neil said. “It says to submit a resume to Wayne Jones.”
Jones again called for nominations to close.
O’Neil left the meeting as Jones congratulated Nichols-Rhodes.