CLEVELAND — A total of 17 councilmembers-elect were sworn in Monday night at 7 p.m. at Cleveland City Council Chambers, including five new legislators.
Northeast Ohio U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown administered the oath of office. Ward 6 Councilman Blaine A. Griffin also took his place as the council's next president.
"We are tired of Cleveland being on the list of 'Worst,'" Griffin told the body after taking his seat as president. "High infant mortality, high exposure to lead, low life expectancy, the worst place for women, low education attainment, crushing poverty ... We're going to take care of the people of this city."
The general public could not attend in-person, but WKYC.com carried the stream live in the player below:
Council members are elected every four years. Below is a list of the 17 members of Cleveland City Council that were sworn in, with the newest members lister with an asterisk:
- Ward 1: Joseph T. Jones
- Ward 2: Kevin L. Bishop
- Ward 3: Kerry McCormack
- Week 4: *Deborah Gray
- Week 5: *Richard Starr
- Ward 6: Blaine A. Griffin (new council president)
- Ward 7: *Stephanie Howse
- Ward 8: Michael D. Polensek
- Ward 9: Kevin Conwell
- Ward 10: Anthony Hairston
- Ward 11: Brian Mooney
- Ward 12: *Rebecca Maurer
- Ward 13: *Kris Harsh
- Ward 14: Jasmin Santana
- Ward 15: Jenny Spencer
- Ward 16: Brian Kazy
- Ward 17: Charles J. Slife
In line with Griffin's declaration to turn Cleveland around, many councilmembers are citing education as one of the main problems to tackle.
"Education is most significant thing that we have," Joseph T. Jones said. "If we are able to bring our grade from the 'F' it's been for so long to a 'B,' then we'll be able to attract more people to move into the city of Cleveland.
Safety and security were also mentioned, as were language barriers.
"I am committed to improving language access," Jasmin Santana stated. "I want to see Arabs and Asians and Latinos access city services."
Prior to the start of the meeting, councilmembers held an opening prayer as well as a moment of silence for Officer Shane Bartek, who was shot and killed during an off-duty armed robbery on New Year's Eve.