A Talk With The New President Of Akron City Council

Jan 18, 2016

Marilyn Keith says she agreed to step in when it became clear Bob Hoch didn't have the support to become council president.
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU

With the New Year, newly elected, and selected, political leaders are taking over key jobs in in many northeast Ohio Cities.  In Akron, Marilyn Keith will now head up City Council.  She spoke at length with WKSU’s Tim Rudell, about what she sees coming.

Marilyn Keith retired from teaching four years ago to become Akron’s 8th Ward City Council representative. She says she didn’t imagine, or have any interest in, becoming council president. But a flurry of events, including 

Don Plusquellic at a news conference in 2015, shortly before he unexpectedly resigned.
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Mayor Don Plusquellic leaving office last year after 28 years, created a political domino effect that put her in the president’s chair.

Unexpected
“I can’t say that I hadn’t been approached, or it hadn’t been discussed. However, my dear friend Bob Hoch made a choice to run and my support was going to Bob Hoch. When he realized he didn’t have the support, we came up with idea that I would try to find the support.  And it was very last minute.’

Prospects and challenges for Akron
New Mayor Dan Horrigan

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan
Credit M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

will be looking at our financial situation and that will the arrow of where we’re going.  But then we need to set priorities. Communications is going to be the key to this and good information on our finances.”

Civility
“I’m going to facilitate an atmosphere of civility and respect, and I’m going (to focus on) relationships with other communities.

Akron is small enough to ‘get it done’ and big enough to ‘get it out there.’ And we should be connecting with those that surround us.”

New Start
Marilyn Keith will be presiding over what was a divided council, with members who supported former Mayor Don Plusquellic, and those who didn’t. Like new Mayor Dan Horrigan, she will have the challenge of moving past those divisions.