NORTH ROYALTON – The new year is one packed with changes for the city of North Royalton.
Not only will there be a new mayor at the helm, Mayor-Elect Larry Antoskiewicz who replaces outgoing Mayor Bob Stefanik, but there are five new council people joining the ranks with just two veteran councilmen out of the seven.
The 2020 City Council will consist of Council President Paul Marnecheck, Ward 1 Councilwoman Jessica Fenos, Ward 2 Councilwoman Linda Barath, Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw, Ward 4 Councilman Jeremy Dietrich, Ward 5 Councilman Vincent Weimer and Ward 6 Councilman Mike Wos.
So in an attempt to make the transition as seamless as possible for city council, Marnecheck, who currently serves as the Ward 4 councilman through Dec. 31, has scheduled an orientation for the newly elected representatives this month to familiarize them with the inner workings of city council – procedures, policy, processes, departments and terminology – before they take their seats Jan. 1.
Also attending to help explain some of these areas will be directors from the law, finance and legislative services departments.
Marnecheck likens it to a freshman orientation or a "City Council 101" class.
“I don’t know the last time city government had this many new people in positions. We are starting the process of transitioning to be a member of council, so that Jan. 1, we all hit the ground running,” he said. “Many have attended committee and council meetings, which is great, but it’s one thing to passively listen in the audience. There is something different when you’re being asked to make a decision.”
Marnecheck stressed that the five incoming council people are not council representatives just, yet so this is not a meeting to discuss agenda items or make formal decisions, it is simply to familiarize them with procedures and aspects they will need to know such as Sunshine Laws, the difference between wastewater and stormwater, what an executive meeting is, what it means to waive rules, what an emergency clause means, what the legislative readings means, what motions are, what the budget process entails etc.
“And we have to get to know each other. Many of the current council members have served together for 12 years, so there is familiarity. The campaign is over, we are in this together, we need to put our differences aside and move the city forward,” Marnecheck said. “I’m looking forward to this.”
Antoskiewicz said it is a great idea.
“We have so many new members coming in. This will give them some insight on the inner workings and procedures pertaining to council. One thing they will discuss is the budget process, which is important because we get into that right away," he said. "It's just a good idea to have an expanded overview of how council operates and functions."