2 Wards, 2 Council Members Dropped in CLE

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- As the gavel dropped during Tuesday’s council meeting, so did the jobs of two council members.

Cleveland’s population has decreased, according to the latest census, so two wards must go.

Seventeen of 19 council members voted in favor of the newly-drawn districts.

Now, Collinwood will be split into two wards, and Glenville and downtown into three.

Translation?

Councilman Jeff Johnson or Councilman Kevin Conwell will soon be out of jobs.

“I voted 'yes' because Glenville has been consolidated 75 percent, it’s now together,” said Jeff Johnson. “Ultimately, I’d like to get the northern boundaries to be brought into it. I didn’t win that battle.”

“One of them is going to lose their job,” said Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek.  “They’re both fine representatives and friends of mine. Yes, it could have been done differently but at the end of the day, it is…what it is.”

Polensek voted against the newly-drawn districts saying transparency and public input hasn’t been fair.

Council President Martin Sweeney disagrees. He used outside consultants to help him draw up the new wards.

“The Glenville community has always been in two wards," said Polensek. "Now, it’s in three. Quite frankly, I thought that was a disservice to folks there, but nonetheless, I’m going to be their representative and fight for them.”

Councilman Jay Westbrook is retiring at the end of the year; his district is being absorbed. As for Johnson, he will have to run against Conwell in November.

Once elected, Cleveland council members serve four-year terms with an annual salary of $77,000.

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