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Mayfield Heights Picks New Council Member

Robert DeJohn, who was not in the pool of candidates, has been appointed by the mayor

Mayfield Heights has a new city councilman, but he is not one of the final six candidates who were interviewed in recent weeks.

Robert DeJohn has been appointed to council, Mayor Anthony DiCicco said Tuesday afternoon. DeJohn is a lifelong Mayfield Heights resident who currently sits on the city's planning commission.

DeJohn lost by just eight points to councilmember Nino Monaco in the November 2011 election.

Why, after six, 20-minute interviews and an executive session, did the city go in an entirely different direction to fill the vacancy? Council could not agree on a candidate within the 45 days that passed since DiCicco left an empty seat on council, the mayor said.

"All the candidates were great," DiCicco said. "When it came down to discussing them, they all had something to offer this city."

Still, the city charter states that the appointment would be left up to the mayor if 45 days wasn't enough time for council to reach a decision. From there, DiCicco was left up to his own methodology for appointing a new member.

"I didn't want to split up council, so I decided to pick outside of the candidates," he said. "I went with the person who had the most votes in the last election, but didn't get voted.

"There's not a criteria that says that is who should be picked."

DiCicco liked that so many people in the city had already expressed faith in DeJohn to do the job. Also, his father, Ross DeJohn, served as the city's mayor from 1966 to 1993.

DeJohn's first meeting will be a not-yet-set organizational gathering in which council will appoint a president and president pro tem. He will hold office through December 31. He can choose to run for the remaining two years of the unexpired term or for a four year term.

There will be one, two-year term and four, four-year terms for city council on the ballot in November.

"When it came down to it, it was just a tough decision that could not be made," DiCicco said. "Council did a great job of interviewing the applicants, but it was just a tough decision."

Karen Smart March 19, 2013 at 07:23 PM
would have been nice to see some fresh ideas from people new to being on city government. Some problems in the city are lack of ideas and development in eyesore areas. Not sure what the planning commission has been up to for so long when Mayland/Lander, Cedar corner is not developed.
Bud Nihiser March 20, 2013 at 04:34 AM
This decision by the mayor is baffling to say the least. If it was made to get the backing of the city council members, I believe it falls well short of that outcome. Maybe choosing one of the interviewed candidates would have upset some council members because their candidate was not chosen certainly doesn't unify that body by selecting someone that didn't even express interest in being interviewed for the position. I wonder if council members would have liked to ask questions of the new appointee before he was given the job without expressing his views like the other candidates were required to do? I do wish Robert DeJohn well, but felt compelled to ask the question.
Karen Smart March 20, 2013 at 01:23 PM
It is odd and makes you wonder if this decision was already made while interviewing candidates. Obviously the mayor was speaking to Dicicco while this was going on. Just wanted some fresh blood in the council. Same old, same old, same results unfortunately.
Susan March 20, 2013 at 08:53 PM
It is disappointing how this new council member came about. Understanding that this decision is an important one especially since it follows what was called 'a moving forward' agenda. After the interviews, council met once, then canceled the next meeting due to no compromise. What? So, what did six applicants mean? Why were they passed over? Six applicants who took the time and energy to apply, interview and wait for the council decision. It's hard to understand why council could not do their job, a job residents expect from them, again 'a moving forward' agenda?
Common Sense Citizen March 21, 2013 at 12:28 AM
Less important than the backing of city council members is the backing of the citizens of Mayfield Heights. In November, Mr. DeJohn was just a few votes short (unfortunately) of being elected by the residents, who clearly think he can do the job and who wanted him to do the job. If council couldn't agree and the mayor had to make the decision, he clearly based his decision on the community's wishes, not those of the squabbling members of city council.
Common Sense Citizen March 21, 2013 at 12:39 AM
The politics in our city council are just as partisan and dysfunctional as the federal government... partisanship, no compromise, vendettas, personal agendas and little concern for what's best for the city, despite the words that come out of their mouth. Unfortunate, but that's the reality of it and I'm glad some of them are reaching the end of their term. Certainly some of the applicants would have been welcome additions, bringing new ideas and energy to an otherwise constipated council. I hope some of them run in November so the voters can speak instead of leaving it to an ineffective council to make that choice. Faced with this impasse and the usual factions on council, I think the mayor's approach to this appointment was brilliant. Neither "side" won, and a gentleman who came this close to being elected in November gets the opportunity to serve his city. I'm willing to give him a chance to "show his stuff" and hope he makes a difference on council.
AL Farinacci March 21, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Common Sense Citizen has more "common sense" than all the other respondents to this appointment. Robert DeJohn is already involved in city government as a member of the City Planning Commission and had the most votes as a runner-up in the last election.... So, he DOES have experience in City Government and he is ALREADY popular with many city residents who cast votes for him. Measure his service ongoing and give him a chance to perform. He seems to be very qualified!

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