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Akron Mayor Shammas Malik unveils 100-day plan

Akron Mayor Shammas Malik stands behind a podium. Behind him, a screen displays his 100 day plan.
Abigail Bottar
Ideastream Public Media
Akron Mayor Shammas Malik announces his 100 day plan on Feb. 21, 2024.

Akron Mayor Shammas Malik announced his administration's 100-day plan Wednesday.

More than two months into his tenure, the plan builds on Malik's Together for Akron agenda, which he campaigned on, and includes a list of 73 action items.

"The first 100 days presents an opportunity to kind of set the tone for the entire four years for an administration to follow," Malik said.

The administration's main goals are launching the Together for Akron agenda, building the team, modernizing city operations and prioritizing communication and public engagement, according to the city.

Malik's Together for Akron agenda is built on four key areas: public safety, economic development, health, housing and the environment and education, according to the city.

One of the main focuses of Malik's public safety plan is conducting the search for the city's new police chief. Former Chief Steve Mylett retired at the end of 2023. Malik also plans to have a decision on the future home of the police department by the end of June, he said.

The plan actualizes other public safety ideas Malik campaigned on, particularly including mental health professionals in addition to police to respond to mental health calls. Another action item is creating a city wide system that includes medical professionals, community organizations and schools, to help address violence. Other plans include focusing on police transparency and accountability through policy and training reviews, supporting the Citizens' Police Oversight Board and prioritizing police and fire recruitment and retention.

Malik's economic development goals include launching a Downtown community development corporation, determining city support for Downtown priorities, seeking funding for a transit oriented development project, launching a program focused on supporting Black owned businesses, selecting a contractor for the Innerbelt planning process and lobbying for state and federal funding for Akron to be a tech hub for sustainable polymer development.

There are goals around health, housing and the environment as well. Some of those include reviewing the 2020 tree canopy assessment, resetting the Akron Home Repair Program, developing the right to counsel pilot program to provide legal representation to tenants facing eviction, starting a pilot program of tiny homes, identifying additional city initiatives to address homelessness, improving housing inspection processes, reviewing the residential property tax abatement policy, reassessing support for maternal and infant health, leveraging support from state and national partners around environmental sustainability and developing a long-term plan for the Office of Sustainability and Resiliency.

Homelessness has been spiking in Akron and across Northeast Ohio, with the number of people experiencing homelessness in Summit County jumping from 441 in 2022 to 648 in 2023, according to annual Point-in-Time data.

In regard to education, Malik is prioritizing partnering with Akron Public Schools to improve access to community learning centers and supporting a community-based effort to build a new North High School. Teachers and community members have been advocating for a new building for months and have complained of failing heating and cooling systems, collapsing ceilings, pests and health issues related to the aging building.

Malik has finished filling his cabinet but wants to complete hiring for his strategy team and other appointed roles, establish regular communication with all city employees, build out the office of Diversity, Equity and inclusion and begin longer term culture change work in city hall, he said.

Additionally, Malik's administration is focusing on modernizing city operations, including launching a public snowstorm map, launching the Water Bill Assistance Program, improving the city's current mowing program and clarifying internal contracting procedures to ensure a competitive process.

Finally, Malik's 100-day plan includes prioritizing communication and public engagement, focusing on soliciting responses on hiring a new chief of police, conducting regular press conferences, engaging with residents through social media, initiating regular discussions with business and faith leaders and prioritizing youth engagement.

"We’re halfway through the first 100 days," Malik said, "and we’re excited at the progress being made both in accomplishing operational tasks for the city but also beginning the work of broader objectives such as violence intervention, universal pre-K and better engagement with residents.”

To keep track of all these goals, the city also launched a 100-day goal tracker.

"This is our commitment to really holding ourselves accountable," Malik said. "We talk about transparency and accountability a lot, but it's important to actually live out that value."

Six goals are already complete, including passing the 2024 Capital Budget as well as launching the water bill assistance program, the Akron 311 app and the snowplow tracker map, according to the city.

The tracker won't disappear after the administration hits the 100-day mark, Malik added.

"This document will morph into more of a long-term strategic plan beyond the 100 days," he said. "So that we have an ongoing kind of map for where we're going as an administration."

Updated: February 22, 2024 at 4:07 PM EST
The Malik administration originally said they had 74 action items. The story has also been updated with a revised pdf of the 100-day plan, provided by the city.
Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.