Mayor Malik Announces Committee for Safety Forces Charter Amendment

Committee will develop proposed amendment for voters’ consideration

Akron, Ohio, May 23, 2024  — Today, Mayor Shammas Malik is announcing the members of a committee that will assist with the creation of a charter amendment to create clear authority for the city to consider a broad and diverse candidate pool for key leadership roles in the Akron Police Department and Akron Fire Department.

The committee members include four members of Akron City Council -President Margo Sommerville, Council President Pro Tem Brad McKitrick, Councilwoman Linda Omobien, who also serves as President of the Black Elected Officials of Summit County, and At Large Councilman Eric Garrett.

The committee also includes State Senator Vernon Sykes, State Representative Veronica Sims, and two longtime Akron residents, Willa Keith, retired from the City of Akron and the Akron Police Department, and Heather Pollock, visiting Assistant Professor of Instruction at the University of Akron.

During the city’s recent search for Akron’s next Police Chief, the law department determined that the city charter does not give the city clear authority to appoint an external police chief. By offering an amendment which would clearly define the city’s authority to include external candidates for the Chief and Deputy Chief positions within APD and AFD, it will ensure a larger and more diverse pool of candidates for these critical leadership positions in future searches.

“I want to thank each member of the committee for their willingness to dig into this issue and help us find a path forward,” said Mayor Malik. “Our charter is our central governing document, and we must ensure that it grants the city the flexibility to have the strongest possible hiring process. I believe that having broad, diverse candidate pools, with strong internal and external candidates, will serve the city well in these key leadership roles.”

Over the next several months, the committee will work alongside the city administration to develop an amendment - giving input on scope and impact and reviewing wording. The goal will be to present the amendment to voters at the November 5th, 2024 election.

Stephanie Marsh, Director of Communications or 330-256-1191