Cuyahoga Falls City Council member resigns

Legislator says he and his family are moving to Stow

PHIL KEREN
Reporter
Reilly

CUYAHOGA FALLS — In their final meeting before their August recess, city council members learned on Monday night that one of their colleagues is stepping down from his post.

Council member Drew Reilly (D-1) submitted a letter to the clerk of council announcing he would resign from the legislative body effective Wednesday, July 29.

Reilly said he and his young family are moving to Stow.

“I don’t take this decision to step off council lightly,” said Reilly, who has served on council since January 2018. “I was able to acquire a house that will accommodate my growing family a little better than my small, starter home over on the east side of Cuyahoga Falls did. This is a family decision to step into somewhere a little bigger. It definitely does leave me with a heavy heart to step off council and step away from the residents in Ward 1.”

Reilly thanked Mayor Don Walters, his fellow council members and his constituents.

He said the residents in Ward 1 are “the reason that I did this. You’re the reason that I came to every council meeting I did. You’re the reason I worked as hard as I did.”

Reilly told his fellow council members that they would still see him around the city as he works as a staff attorney for the Summit County Land Bank and works with city officials on some projects.

“It was a great time to be on council, and I really look forward to seeing all the stuff that you guys get to do without me,” said Reilly.

Council President Mike Brillhart (D-5) thanked Reilly for his service and stated, “It’s been an honor and a privilege to not only serve with you, but most importantly, to get to know you … [I] wish you well on your journey in the future.”

Other council members praised Reilly for his work.

“It’s been a pleasure working with you,” said Council member Mary Nichols-Rhodes (D-4).

Council member Tim Gorbach (At-Large) thanked Reilly for “making council enjoyable for the time you were with us.”

Council member Susan Spinner (D-2) offered kudos to Reilly for his support and encouragement during her first campaign for council last fall.

Council member Meika Marie Penta (D-3) said Reilly was helpful when she had questions about legislation and issues.

Walters added he thought Reilly did a “spectacular job” on council.

Reilly told the Falls News-Press his top accomplishment on council was creating a program to offer free child care at the Natatorium for those attending council meetings.

“Child care is just one boundary that negatively impacts civic engagement from the younger generation, and the city being able to offer free child care is one way to eliminate that barrier,” said Reilly. He added he worked on many other smaller items for individual residents.

“The sum total of all those little projects reminds me of why I ran for council,” said Reilly.

In line with that sentiment, Reilly said his service allowed him to forge relationships with many government officials and residents. Those connections, Reilly said, are “the thing I will miss above all else.”

Reilly said he’s encouraged other young people to get involved with local government, even in non-elected posts, and offered these words of encouragement to the younger generation: "You belong at the table. You need to be at the table. Decisions are being made that impact all of our lives, and while being at the table does not guarantee that you will be the one making the decision, it does guarantee that your voice will be heard."

Reilly has worked as a staff attorney at the Summit County Land Bank since January, and he previously served as a judicial attorney for Akron Municipal Court Judge Nicole Walker.

The Summit County Democratic Party’s Central Committee for the city’s Ward 1 will meet to appoint Reilly’s replacement. The committee has 30 days from July 29 to fill the vacancy, per the city charter. The appointee would serve for the remainder of the term, which expires Dec. 31, 2021. To retain the seat beyond the end of 2021, the new member would have to be elected to the post in the November 2021 election.

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