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Sweeney Under Fire

The unofficial list of candidates for the March primary came out late Friday afternoon. Buried in with the dozens of Presidential, congressional and judicial hopefuls was the name of Council president, Martin Sweeney as a candidate for County Recorder. Word of his candidacy traveled fast, resulting in a flurry of phone calls over the weekend. A number of local political leaders were reportedly angry that Sweeney appeared to be bailing from the job, especially since many had backed him after the former Council Clerk filed sexual harassment charges against him. Yesterday morning, Sweeney announced he was withdrawing his name from the Recorder's race.

MARTIN SWEENEY: We had discussions with very important people, and the decision was that the City of Cleveland's business is incomplete and I'm going to stay focused on running the City Council and taking care of the people's business in the City of Cleveland.

One of the people he had discussions with was former Council President Michael Polensek who says he was dumbfounded by Sweeney's move.

MICHAEL POLENSEK: The biggest question at this point is: Who is politically advising him? Because he's making one bad decision after another.

Mike Polensek says he doubts that there are enough votes to oust Sweeney as President, right now. But, with a growing disenchantment in City Hall over his stewardship, Polensek adds that it's up to Sweeney to chart a better course.

David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.