Councilman Reappointed After Heated Debate

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CLEVELAND-- Cleveland City Council overwhelmingly voted Monday night to reappoint Ken Johnson to city council despite much heated debate earlier in the day.

Mr. Johnson retired at the end of 2012 after nearly 47 years.

But then Monday afternoon, at a caucus meeting, he recommended himself for reappointment to his former 4th ward position.

The move allows him to collect his retirement pay and also a $74,000 a year salary.

“With me it’s not about the money. It’s about finishing what I started back when I was elected,” said Mr. Johnson.

It may not have been about money, but he did admit to retiring in 2012 because of changes coming to the state's pension plan that would’ve affected his benefits.

When asked if he was beating the system he replied, “I don’t think I’m gaming the system.”

But council members Brian Cummins, Dona Brady and Mike Polensek disagreed and voted against the reappointment.

“I’ve known the councilman a very long time. It’s nothing personal. I’m just not going to vote for anything that compromises the council,” said Mike Polensek.

Polensek said that he believes Mr. Johnson's actions did not adhere to state statutes.

When Polensek retired, he allowed the voters to decide if he should return to office.

He said Mr. Johnson should’ve let the voters make the decision, not city council. “It’s very clear proper procedures were not followed here,” said Mr. Polensek.

Johnson was immediately sworn into office, Monday night.

He thanked everyone and also addressed complaints that he missed a lot of meetings.

He said he was either with his sick son or in his ward doing work.

But his appointment may be short lived. Several people say they will run against him in the fall.

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