CLEVELAND — After Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb took a midnight oath of office earlier in the day, new members of Cleveland City Council were sworn into office Monday night.
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This batch of council members include five new members:
- Deborah Gray of Ward 4
- Richard Starr of Ward 5
- Stephanie Howse of Ward 7
- Rebecca Maurer of Ward 12
- Kris Harsh of Ward 13
These new council members join at a time when violence wears thin among existing members, and the funeral of 25-year-old Cleveland police officer Shane Bartek looms.
"Public safety and crime is at the top of the agenda," Griffin said after being sworn in Monday evening. "Whenever you talk to anybody, if you don't have safety, you don't have a civil society. We’re going to do whatever we can to invest in our public safety forces, to increase in our technology and make sure we look at the pay."
In November, Ward 6 Councilman Blaine Griffin accepted the city council president position after an informal caucus vote by the newly-elected members of city council. Griffin, a close friend of former Mayor Frank Jackson, said at the time the landslide victory of new Mayor Justin Bibb was a “mandate” for change and vowed collaboration with the incoming administration while maintaining the council’s steadfast independence.
"Change is not an event, it’s a process," Griffin added Monday.
For some of those new members, change means new ideas, such as how the City of Cleveland will utilize the $511 million in American Rescue Plan Money (APRA) it received from the federal government.
"When you think of one-time money, we have to be able to try some things," Howse said. "This is not the time to be shy, but really look at some sound practices that we can begin to transform our community and our economy."
Beginning Tuesday, council members will participate in a retreat that discusses aspects of city departments as well as discretionary funds, legislation, and internal office processes.
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