Cuyahoga Falls Council Sworn In
Alex Hall, 01-08-2020

Mayor Don Walters swears in council members for the 2020 session.
Stephen Mulé
The new Cuyahoga Falls City Council was sworn in Monday at the start of its regular committee meeting. Re-elected Councilman Jerry James (D-7) was named the temporary chair, bringing the meeting to order to allow all Council members to be sworn in by Mayor Don Walters.

Re-elected Councilman Mike Brillhart (D-5) was nominated Council President by outgoing Council President Mary Nichols-Rhodes (D-4) who will remain in her Ward 4 seat thanks to her own 2019 re-election, while James was named President Pro Tem. Additionally, Re-elected Councilman Drew Reilly (D-1) was named Sergeant-at-Arms, and incoming Councilwoman Susan Spinner (D-2) was named Chaplain. Dana Capriulo was named Council Clerk once again.

“I have gotten to know everyone on council and the administration,” Brillhart said. “We all want to serve the public and make our city better…and I am happy to be a part of this team.”

The new council makeup comes as the result of an election in 2019 that saw Democrats win a significant partisan majority of 9-2. Two retiring Republican council members—Mary Ellen Pyke of Ward 2 and Vincent Pallotta of Ward 3—are succeeded by Democrats Spinner and Meika Penta respectively, the latter of whom was named to the at-large seat vacated by Paul Colavecchio in early 2019, after which she ran for and won the Ward 3 seat she ran for and lost in 2017.

“I’m excited that this time around the election went my way, but even with the first loss, I was still out there…meeting residents, seeing how they were doing, and still having a passion to run,” Penta said. “I just want to continue to help the community, build the community, to work with my neighbors to make it better.”

Besides Spinner, another newcomer to Falls Council is Frank Stams (D-8). A former defensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns, Stams serves as the first Democratic council member in Ward 8 since Northampton Township merged with Cuyahoga Falls in 1985.

“I’m flattered and humbled by the people who voted for me. I had a wonderful experience walking the ward and knocking on doors and getting to know the constituents,” Stams said. “What I think the people of Ward 8 recognized was our hard work, and now that I’m in the position, I’ll do my best to not let them down.”

The two Republican council members sworn in were Adam Miller of Ward 6 and at-large Councilman Jeff Iula. Miller begins his third term serving Ward 6 since defeating the incumbent Democrat Gary Deremer in 2015, whom he faced again in the 2019 race. Iula has two years remaining in his third at-large term before the seat comes up for election again in 2021.

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