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Cleveland Councilman Kevin J. Kelley Replaces Martin Sweeney as Council President

Council President-elect Kevin J. Kelley (Photo: Cleveland City Council)
Council President-elect Kevin J. Kelley (Photo: Cleveland City Council)

Current council president Martin Sweeney won reelection this week, along with practically every incumbent on council. But after eight years with the gavel, Sweeney is passing the presidency on to councilman Kevin Kelley, who represents the Old Brooklyn neighborhood on the West Side.

Council approved Kelley unanimously. There weren’t even any other nominees.

But not everyone’s vote was enthusiastic. Several east side councilmen voiced their discontent with this year’s redistricting process, which Councilman Jeff Johnson said Kelley had a hand in.

Councilmen Mike Polensek delivered the most pointed remarks. The meeting was carried live online by Fox8 News.

“I’d be less than remiss if I didn’t express my own opinion about the disrespect that was shown to the Northeast Side of the city during the redistricting process, and how our neighborhoods were tore up," Polensek said.

Other members of council said Cleveland will have its work cut out for it maintaining city services and channeling money to local neighborhood development non-profits.

Councilman Kelley will take over as president in January. He told the group he’s optimistic that the cloud left over Cleveland by the recession is starting to drift away.

“We’re starting to see signs of recovery," Kelley said. "We’re starting to see our income tax receivables trend in the right direction. We’re starting to see things happen in the city and I think we are well poised for this next for years to really drive that forward.”

Kelley promised to hear out every member of council in crafting a legislative plan for next year.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.