September 2, 2014

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Avon Lake Council president to seek re-election

AVON LAKE — Avon Lake City Council President Marty O’Donnell will seek another term to his at-large seat come November.

O'Donnell

O’Donnell

The eight-year member of Council stressed the need to continue his work to approve legislation “that meets the needs of residents and businesses” in announcing his candidacy for the November general election.

“We must always focus on sensible growth, new jobs, and efficient and effective government,” O’Donnell said.

A recent recipient of Cleveland State University’s Leadership Academy’s Outstanding Elected Official for 2013, O’Donnell is a past chair of Council’s Public Service, Sewer, Walker Road, and Safety Committees.

A retired deputy director of the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency, O’Donnell is a graduate of Ohio State University.

He presently sits on City Council’s Safety, Sewer, Environmental, Public Utilities, and Finance committees.

O’Donnell was a major force in pushing the city’s membership in the Regional Fire Dispatch 911 system earlier this year. By turning over the city’s fire emergency dispatching duties to the regionalized system, a fifth firefighter was added to the crew that handles fire and rescue calls during the 3 to 11 p.m. and overnight shifts, as well as on weekends and holidays.

The move also saved the city an estimated couple hundred thousand dollars that the city would have been forced to spend for more personnel, training and equipment.

Dispatching duties previously were done during the specified periods of time by a firefighter.

O’Donnell was also a key figure in a change in city policy that saw City Council interview some 15 candidates for a council vacancy in 2012 in open meetings instead of traditional closed-door meetings.

“I see no reason why public bodies can’t interview in an open process,” O’Donnell said at the time. “We had always done it through executive sessions, but I decided to try an open process with Council’s backing,”

O’Donnell said during the open-door sessions that invited questions from residents enroute to selection of John Shondel to fill the unexpired term of Greg Zilka, who was elected mayor in December 2011.

Creation of the Avon Lake Dog Park at Weiss Field, a pending streamlining of city departments, and formation of the Avon Lake Community Council are other achievements listed by O’Donnell.

The Community Council is made up of 22 local civic groups that share resources and assist each other in projects to benefit the city, including the annual March Away Hunger Drive that supplies food to needy Avon Lake households.

O’Donnell is currently working with a group of 14 county townships forming a consortium to bargain for lower trash collection rates from an as-yet undetermined provider.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.