CUYAHOGA FALLS — The city’s new law director said she is “excited” to step into her new role.

City Council on Monday unanimously approved Mayor Don Walters’ nomination of Janet Ciotola to serve as the city’s first female Director of Law. 

Ciotola, who previously served as Deputy Director of Law, replaces Russ Balthis, who resigned from the post after accepting a job as a senior attorney at the law firm Squire Patton Boggs. Ciotola and Balthis will still work together, as Balthis was appointed last week to fill a vacant at-large city council position.

Both Ciotola and Balthis were sworn into their new city posts by Walters at Monday’s meeting.

In one of her first acts as head of the city’s law department, Ciotola appointed Matthew Dickinson as the city’s new Deputy Director of Law.

Ciotola thanked Walters for appointing her to the post and Balthis for his leadership in the law department during the last six years. She told Balthis she was “excited that you’re still going to be part of our team along with other members of city council to move our city into the future.”

She also thanked others in attendance: her husband, law department employees, a longtime friend of hers and other city hall workers.

“It’s truly rewarding to be a public servant to this wonderful community,” said Ciotola. “And I’m grateful to God for this opportunity.”

Walters said he felt Ciotola would do a “phenomenal job” in the city’s top legal post.

“She’s done so much behind the scenes,” said Walters. “A lot of these housing issues that kind of build up for years, she’s really cleaned those up, literally … She’s going to be more visible now and she’s going to be a great representative for the city … she’ll do a wonderful job for us.”

Balthis added Ciotola was “one of the best public servants” he’s worked with and stated he had “no doubt that she will be one of the best law directors in the history of the city.”

As he steps into the job previously held by Ciotola, Dickinson said he was looking forward to the challenges of the new position.

“Working for the city of Cuyahoga Falls has provided me with many opportunities to work on a wide array of legal issues throughout the city,” stated Dickinson. ”I look forward to continuing to serve with Janet and look forward to finding new and innovative ways to serve our community better.”

Prior to her employment with the city, Ciotola served the city of Akron as the Assistant Director of Law for 13 years. She is a 1989 graduate of the University of Akron School of Law. She serves as a board member of the Rotary Club of Cuyahoga Falls and is a parishioner and volunteer at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. She lives with her family in Cuyahoga Falls.

Dickinson has been the city’s Assistant Director of Law since 2014. He graduated from the Ohio State University’s Moritz School of Law in 2003. Before joining the Cuyahoga Falls Law Department, he was a magistrate and judicial attorney in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas.

Ciotola will earn $122,072 annually, while Dickinson will make $94,578 per year.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421,, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.