CUYAHOGA FALLS: There may be a Democrat in the mayor’s office, but a Republican is now in charge of Falls City Council.
After eight years of Democratic control, the leadership of Cuyahoga Falls City Council switched on Monday from Democrat to Republican by a vote of 6-5.
Republican Mary Ellen Pyke is the council’s new president.
“I am honored and humbled to have been chosen to serve as the president of City Council,” Pyke said. “I look forward to leading this council and working with the new administration in a manner that will continue to move our city forward.”
Pyke also welcomed two new City Council members, Democrat Gary Deremer, Ward 6, and Republican Bob Weinhardt, Ward 4.
Democrat Vince Rubino also was nominated to lead council.
Democrats had held a majority and the council presidency since 2006.
Rubino was president pro tem for 2013, and was the heir apparent until Republicans gained a seat in the November election, giving them the majority.
Monday’s vote to put Pyke in charge followed party lines.
At-large Councilman Jeff Iula, a Republican, was elected president pro tem and at-Large Councilman Carol Klinger, a Republican, will chair the finance committee.
Before Monday’s meeting, former council president and new mayor, Don Walters, a Democrat, administered the oath of office to the 10 council members who won the election in November.
He also administered the council president’s oath of office to Pyke.
“I think we’ll have a great working relationship,” Walters said of Pyke.
Council on Monday also confirmed Walters’ four Cabinet selections.
Diane Sheridan, former planning director for Barberton, is the Falls director of development. Eric Czetli, former Cuyahoga Falls clerk of courts who retired as deputy director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, is the new director of service.
Russell W. Balthis, a lawyer who specializes in government finance, will serve as law director, and Bryan J. Hoffman, former deputy director of budget and finance for Summit County Jobs and Family Services, is the director of finance.
Walters said all four are energetic and enthusiastic.
“They’ve been working since Jan. 1, logging over 100 hours of their own time, with no pay,” Walters said.
The mayor said he arrived at work one morning to find Czetli had arrived two hours earlier, and was riding with a snow plow driver.
Councilman Terry Mader R-8, noticed the youthfulness of some of Walters’ appointees.
“Youth is a good attribute for our community to drive us forward,” Mader said.
Klinger, a certified public accountant, said Hoffman came highly recommended from some of her accounting peers.
“I’m looking forward to working with him,” she said.