One year since his passing, former Summit County Executive Russ Pry has been honored by current County Executive Ilene Shapiro and his other former colleagues.
On Monday, the Triangle Building at 1180 S. Main St. in downtown Akron was rededicated as the Russell M. Pry Building.
"We are proud to honor our late friend and County Executive in dedicating this building in his name," Shapiro said in front of a packed room.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan talked about Pry's commitment to the people of the community, and to his fellow public servants. "There's not enough of an honor you can do (for Pry)," Horrigan said.
Congressmen Tim Ryan and Jim Renacci reinforced Pry's insistance on working across party lines to do what was right and what was needed for the people of Summit County. They both added that Pry was committed to making his fellow politicians better public servants.
After a battle with colon cancer and complications following surgery in June of last year, Pry passed away July 31, 2016, at the age of 58. He was in his 9th year as County Executive.
Ohio State Representative Greta Johnson (D-Akron) announced Thursday that she'll be resigning her office to join Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro's office, effective the end of March.
The press release states that Johnson will take on the role of Deputy Law Director for Summit County.
Johnson was elected to the State House in 2014 and took office January 2015.
In a statement release from Johnson's office, she said of the position, “Ilene has been a mentor to me for many years and I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of her team. I am excited to join in her vision for Summit County and I will bring my skills as an attorney and an advocate for working class people to the executive’s office."
She'll officially start her new role on March 27, 2017.
Ilene Shapiro and Bill Roemer faced off in the Summit County Executive's race debate Wednesday afternoon at Quaker Station in downtown Akron, which was sponsored by the Akron Press Club. Democratic candidate Shapiro was appointed interim executive after the death of Russ Pry...she was county council president before that. Roemer, the Republican challenger, was previously a county council member himself. Shapiro said the county executive's biggest responsibility is fiscal responsibility.
"Taxpayer money that each and every one of you pay into the county, is what enables us to keep our budgets steady, to be able to monitor what we need to do, and to forecast what we will be able to do in the future," Shapiro said. "We have a strong fiscal responsibility." Roemer said for him, the biggest thing is keeping Summit County safe. "As a part of doing that, we've seen the sheriff's budget reduced significantly. We've seen a wing of the jail closed," Roemer said. "Those are items that need to be addressed immediately."
But Roemer and Shapiro disagreed on the costs of the closed jail wing.
Shapiro said there's a reason that the $3.5 million dollar cost estimate has been made...due to a legal settlement..."Part of the settlement in that was if we opened the pod, we would have to fully fund the jail, OK, the 50 officers," Shapiro said. "You do the rough math for the 50 officers, at let's say $60,000 without benefits or whatever, we're well over $3 million." Roemer said that he's talked with executives in the sheriff's office, and that the net cost would be lower. "The net cost, given the amount that we paid to Geauga County, the amount that we are currently paying to open a portion of that jail when needed, the net cost of that would be $700,000," Roemer said. "The $3.5 million figure cited is the figure that is needed to bring the sheriff's department funding to the 2008 level."
The candidates also talked about the sales tax increase which failed in 2014, which Roemer says he supported in its revised form because it supported law enforcement and the sheriff's office. Shapiro says she supported it before an arena proposal was removed, saying the county had a "window of opportunity" to fuel growth and the county's tax base.
Editor's note: the complete debate can be heard below.
A recent email circulation featuring Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro has drawn the attention of her opposition, Republican Bill Roemer. Her campaign says it was an "honest mistake".
The Email is being sent by the County's Veterans Service Commission, and features a photo of Shapiro and a request to help the Democratic Party's "Get Out The Vote" campaign.
Roemer says he was contacted by a Veterans Service Commission employee regarding the Email...
In a statement just out this afternoon, Shapiro's campaign says it was an "honest mistake."
The campaign says the Email went out by mistake to the VSC and other county agencies that do not use the county's summitoh.net for Email.
The campaign estimates that about 20 E-mails went out to those addresses, and that a VSC employee forwarded it thinking it was routine county Email.
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(Bill Roemer Campaign) Candidate for Summit County Executive Bill Roemer delivered a letter to the Veterans Service Commission of Summit County (VSC) today, asking for a full investigation into the recent use of county resources by at least one county VSC employee for partisan political activities in support of the candidacy of Ilene Shapiro for County Executive. The email, which was sent through the VSC email system to all employees, and included the official VSC logo, contained information from the Shapiro campaign regarding campaign events, fundraisers, and picking up campaign yard signs.
In a statement, Roemer said;
"I call on Ilene Shapiro to immediately reject this illegal use of public resources as part of her campaign, and scrub her campaign email database of any official county email addresses. This type of misuse of taxpayer dollars undermines the public's trust in county government. As County Executive, I will push for a charter amendment prohibiting county elected officials from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions from county employees they oversee and imposing limits on donations from those who receive unbid contracts from the county, so that the public can have full faith that employees and those who do work with the county will be focused on their jobs and not the political campaigns of their bosses."
The email was brought to the campaign's attention when VSC employees approached the Roemer campaign and said that they felt pressured to support the Shapiro campaign because the request came through the official VSC email system.
Bill Roemer is a former at-large county council member, and current member of the Summit County Educational Services Center (ESC) Board of Governors. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and was director of Ohio sales for a major telecommunications firm before his retirement from the private sector.
(Elect Ilene Shapiro campaign, news release) The Elect Ilene Shapiro campaign is issuing the following press release in response to a press release issued earlier today by our opponent:
Shortly after Ilene Shapiro announced her intention to run for the position of County Executive, campaign staff began compiling an email database of volunteers, community supporters and members of the public that may have interest in her campaign. During that process, care was taken to keep the public emails of Summit County employees off the list. Campaign staff scrubbed the list of any emails with “summitoh.net” in the extension, which staff believed would keep all Summit County emails out of the database. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to the campaign staff, a handful of agencies, none of which are under the control of the County Executive, use email extensions that do not include summitoh.net. Those agencies were the Veterans ServiceCommission, Summit Metro Parks, Summit Children Services Board, Summit Developmental Disabilities and the Summit County Engineer.
After we were notified today that a campaign email was inadvertently sent to an employee on October 7, 2016 at the Summit County Veterans Service Commission, campaign staff determined that the same email went to less than 20 Summit County email addresses, all of which are emails in agencies that do not use the "summitoh.net” extension. While campaign staff attempted to prevent this issue, an honest mistake was made and has now been addressed so that the issue does not occur in the future. Out of the 11,031 email addresses that received the October 7, 2016email, this issue affected less than 20 Summit County email addresses.
The Elect Ilene Shapiro campaign apologizes for this honest mistake and has taken the proper steps to remedy the issue. The campaign has verified that the email in question did not go to Summit County email addresses for any employee that is employed by or under the authority of the County Executive. Additionally, the VSC staff member that forwarded the email is not a part of the campaign, and we believe she innocently forwarded the email to staff thinking that it was a routine County communication.
Candidates in the Summit County Executive race have agreed to an October debate.
Republican Bill Roemer and Democrat Illene Shapiro will take part in the Akron Press Club debate on October 19th at Quaker Station.
Shapiro and Roemer will get 90 seconds to answer each question from the panel, and the other candidate will get 45 seconds of rebuttal to each question.
Roemer is a former County Council member. Shapiro was council president until being appointed executive after the death of Russ Pry.
Summit County council president Ilene Shapiro is acting as interim county executive after the death of Russ Pry.
Should Shapiro remain in that role, the Summit County Democratic Party will have to fill her council vacancy and her name on the ballot for council at large.
The party says there'll be another Central Committee meeting on Wednesday, August 17th should that be needed.
A meeting already set for August 11th will select the ballot replacement for Pry, and the interim county executive for the remainder of Pry's term.
(Summit County Democratic Party, news release) In response to recent press inquiries surrounding the sudden and unexpected passing of County Executive Russ Pry, the Summit County Democratic Party announced today the process for which this and another potential vacancy will be filled.
First, a replacement for Russ Pry as the Party's candidate for County Executive on the November ballot is to be nominated by the Summit County Democratic Party Central Committee at a meeting on August 11th, 2016 at 7:00 PM at North High School in Akron. In the same meeting, the Central Committee will appoint someone to fill the vacancy in the office of County Executive until the end of the current term. Meanwhile, in accordance with the Summit County Charter, County Council President Ilene Shapiro serves as County Executive on an interim basis.
In case the appointment of someone on August 11th should create a vacancy in a Summit County Council at Large seat, another Central Committee Meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 17th, at 7:00 p.m. at North High School in Akron. The purpose of this meeting will be to nominate someone as the Party's candidate for that County Council at Large seat in the November general election and to appoint someone to that seat until a replacement is elected on November 8th.
By law, a majority of the members of the Central Committee must be present in order for someone to be nominated as the Party's candidate in the general election. Currently, there are 287 Central Committee members; 144 constitutes a majority of 287. Also by law, a majority of the Central Committee members present must vote in favor of a particular candidate in order for a nomination to be made.
Under the Constitution and Bylaws of the Summit County Democratic Party, 50 Central Committee members must be present at a meeting in order to appoint someone to fill a vacancy in a countywide office. To be appointed, a candidate must receive a simple majority (i.e., more than half) of the votes cast.
If there are multiple candidates in a Central Committee election and no candidate receives the requisite majority in the initial balloting, runoff elections will be conducted.
This process will be strictly adhered to in order to ensure an orderly and proper transition of leadership for the residents of Summit County.