A Cleveland Heights resident filed a complaint with the Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals compelling the Cleveland Heights City Council to fill a vacant seat.
Garry Kanter filed the complaint in the Mandamus on Jan. 8 against the City of Cleveland Heights and City Councilors Jason Stein, Kahlil Seren, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell and Michael N. Ungar.
Melissa Yasinow Resigned from the Council on March 2, 2020when she moved to Chagrin Falls with her family.
Kanter cited Cleveland Heights city law for the vacancy filling procedure, which stipulates that vacancies should be filled by the remaining councilors.
The city received 19 applications for the position and named four finalists, according to its website. They are: Craig Cobb, Tony Cuda, Robert Koonce and Anthony Mattox.
The city has a committee for the entire session, scheduled for January 19th. An executive meeting is on their agenda to discuss the appointment of an official.
Kanter said: “Respondents have stopped trying to fill the position” and “have not done so”.
His request is that the judge issue an order directing the council to fill the vacancy immediately.
“Every time a citizen brings it up there is a version of you that you don’t understand,” he said. “We’re working really hard on it. And they can do that with private individuals, but the hurdle is a little higher when communicating with a judge or a court. “
Mayor Jason Stein could not be reached for comment.
Kanter attends meetings, speaks and researches the law and has previously obtained public records from the courts.
“Hopefully the facts are on my side,” he said. “Hopefully the law is on my side.”
As an accountant, he has already represented himself in court and in this case is acting on his own behalf.
“Very few people do this,” he said to take legal action to force government action. “Maybe nobody in Cleveland Heights does that. Therefore I would like to take the opportunity to show other people that this is possible. That’s a big part of the reason I’m doing this just to lead by example. “
Kanter, 63, was born in Euclid and grew up in Cleveland Heights. He graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in Cleveland Heights and Ohio State University in Columbus.
He was part of Temple on the Heights as a child and is now not affiliated with any synagogue.
He lost his job after the company he worked for, Transaction Realty, shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I only speak for myself,” said Kanter, who is divorced and has no children. “Many of our neighbors worry about upset their spouse’s employer or their clergy or their children. … I don’t have to worry. “