Here's How Brian Mooney's Ward 11 Cleveland City Council Seat Will Be Filled

An appointment and then a special election are on tap

click to enlarge Councilman Mooney, soon to be Judge Mooney - Official headshot
Official headshot
Councilman Mooney, soon to be Judge Mooney

Brian Mooney will soon be making the jump from Cleveland city council to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas bench.

The Ward 11 councilman, appointed in 2020 after Dona Brady stepped down, won re-election in November 2021. Months later, however, he announced his judicial candidacy against incumbent Joan Synenberg. He bested the Republican by a thin 732-vote margin, carried largely by support from the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.

When the Nov. 8 election results are certified by the Board of Elections, Mooney's victory will become official and he'll take the bench on Jan .12, 2023.

Who will represent Ward 11?

The seat will be filled by an appointment made by city council, which traditionally accepts and approves whoever is handpicked by the outgoing councilperson in these cases. But since Mooney will depart his seat before two years of his term are up, the appointee will serve not until the end of Mooney's elected term but until a special election in fall 2023, according to city charter rules:

 If at any time, the office of a member is vacant by reason of non-election, death, resignation, removal of residence from the ward represented or from any other cause whatsoever, except when the vacancy is caused by a recall petition, the vacancy shall be filled by the Council for the unexpired term; provided, however, that if the vacancy occurs at any time which is more than two years before the next regular Municipal election, the person selected by the Council to fill the vacancy shall hold office until the person’s successor is elected at special municipal elections to be held in accordance with this section and is qualified. If a general election is to be in the City held upon a date not less than 160 days nor more than one year after the occurrence of the vacancy, the special municipal election shall be held at the general election and a special primary election to nominate candidates for the vacancy shall be held on the eighth Tuesday prior to the general election.
The appointee will still get the benefit of being an incumbent in that primary, should they elect to run, but will have months, not years, to establish a track record with residents.

While rumors swirl as to who might seek the seat, Mooney is mum as to who he has in mind.

"My election is not certified yet and my recount is not done. That will take weeks. I spent enough money to win, but I did not have enough money to buy a landslide," he told Scene. "I won't recommend a replacement when it is still not certain I will leave."

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