James Armstrong finished his time as mayor of Munroe Falls at 5 p.m. Jan. 21, just as his replacement, Ward 3 Councilman Allen Mavrides, was sworn into the office.
Late last year, Armstrong, who was in the middle of his second term, announced his resignation to become the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board's director of legal services. In early January, council unanimously chose Mavrides as council president, knowing that he would then become the next mayor.
"I was presented an opportunity I couldn't turn down, at least and stay married," Armstrong said at a farewell party and swearing-in ceremony. "Allen has made my wife the happiest woman in Munroe Falls."
Mavrides, who has lived in the city for more 40 years, previously said he saw the position of mayor as his duty to the city, but he would not seek re-election in 2023.
The mayor of Munroe Falls is a part-time position, earning a salary of $24,000 per year.
Before leaving office, Armstrong shared how Mavrides, an engineer with DLZ Ohio, has been advising him on capital and engineering projects since Armstrong took office in 2016.
"He helped with the priority list for the roads, for the water distribution system and the projects we have in the hopper involving Guise Park and the old shooting range," Armstrong said. "It's with a great deal of comfort knowing that we have someone intimately involved in these projects...Truly one of the best people I've ever met."
Mavrides, in turn, thanked Armstrong for his guidance and for "teaching me what I didn't know I was going to have to know."
"I plan to continue what you started," he said. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
City Council must now decide how to fill Mavrides' Ward 3 seat by Feb. 20.
Munroe Falls' charter states that council has 30 days to fill a vacancy by a majority of the remaining members. If they fail to do so, the power then transfers to the mayor.
The charter does not, however, describe how council should determine the best candidate.
Council President Chris Ritzinger said that in the past, council advertised the vacancy, requested resumes and held interviews with qualified candidates.
Council discussed the potential process in an executive session on Jan. 18, a move that was questioned by Ward 1 Councilman Ross Widenor.
Law Director Tom Kostoff said the issue constituted "personnel matters," which can be discussed in executive session under Ohio Sunshine Laws.
However, on Wednesday, Ritzinger said that council would hold the discussion in public, not in executive session, at the Feb. 1 meeting.
Al Prince, who ran against Mavrides in November, has already expressed interest in filling Mavrides' seat, Ritzinger said.
Ritzinger, who was originally chosen as council's vice president, became president after Mavrides was sworn in as mayor. Council must now also appoint a new vice president, but cannot do so until Mavrides' Ward 3 seat is filled.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Munroe Falls swears in new mayor, creating council vacancy