Janine Boyd selected to replace Phyllis Evans on CH City Council
When Barbara Boyd resigned from Cleveland Heights City Council in 1993 to become a state representative, Phyllis Evans was appointed by city council to fill her seat. Now, Boyd's daughter, Janine Boyd, has been appointed by city council to replace Evans, who resigned from council in June.
Janine Boyd will be sworn in as a city council member at 7:30 p.m. at the council's meeting on Oct. 3.
A total of 21 candidates applied for the vacant seat. City council members interviewed four applicants, Boyd, Jeff Coryell, Mike Gaynier and Gina Weisblat, on Sept. 24, before selecting Boyd. Both Gaynier and Coryell had run for election to council in 2011.
The process to replace Evans began June 25, when Mayor Edward Kelley announced that city council was beginning the application process to fill the council seat vacated by Evans. Twelve applications were received by the July 25 deadline, including one from Evans herself.
Evans resigned her council seat for personal reasons, and then sought an opinion from Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) on whether she would be able to keep the health benefits she received as a retired public servant if she were reappointed to city council. While awaiting the decision from OPERS, Evans applied as a candidate for the seat she had resigned, along with 11 others who submitted applications by the July 25 deadline originally set by council.
OPERS ruled Evans would be ineligible to receive benefits if reappointed. In August, Cleveland Heights City Council announced it would reopen the search for the vacant seat. Mayor Kelley commented at the time, "Many people told council members that they would have applied for the seat, but they thought the seat would go to Phyllis Evans. So we decided to give them an opportunity." The deadline for additional applicants was Sept. 10.
Boyd's application was received Sept. 9, and she was not among the initial group of applicants. Boyd said she was busy with work projects during the summer but, by the end of the summer, it felt like "the right time" to apply.
Boyd said she spoke to Evans, three city council members and her parents, all of whom encouraged her to apply. She said that each current member of council inspired her, and she has thought about running for office since childhood.
"Janine has great Cleveland Heights flavoring, and has been active on campaigns and in the community," said Cleveland Heights Mayor Edward Kelley. "We had 21 great applicants, and any of them would have done an excellent job, but we selected the person who was best for the position and what the city needed now." Kelley pointed out that Boyd lives in an area north of Mayfield Road that has not been represented on council in a while. He said that her mother's legacy did not influence the appointment.
Boyd is director of government affairs and public policy at Guidestone Ohio, a nonprofit charitable organization. Boyd has worked on numerous Democratic campaigns, has attended four Democratic National Conventions that her mother has been a delegate to, and has organized committees for health and human services. Of her work at Guidestone, Boyd said she is "surrounded by staff from whom I've learned a lot, and had a trunk full of firsthand experience working with youth."
One of Boyd's main goals as a city council member is to provide opportunities for the youth of Cleveland Heights and show that the council cares about them. "In this political world, we need more people who are working with people rather than just interested in climbing the political ladder," said Boyd. She noted that, at Guidestone, she has "seen success when adults work with youth."
Boyd said she is most excited about the "learning curve" during her time on city council, and hopes to make a difference. She looks forward to working with the current council members, as well as with the school board and the University Heights City Council.
Boyd’s seat will be up for election in 2013, and she said she plans to run for the position then. She is the second city council member to be appointed since May 2011 when council appointed Jason Stein to replace Mark Tumeo.
Simone Quartell, a Heights High graduate, is a student at Cleveland State University and a Heights Observer intern.