Cuyahoga Falls -- Diana Colavecchio attended her first City Council meeting in seven years as a spectator on Jan. 14.
She resigned as a member of Council Jan. 10 after being appointed the clerk of courts for the Stow Municipal Court by the Summit County Democratic Central Committee.
She replaces Lisa Zeno Carano, who stepped down at the end of last year to work as a court administrator with the Summit County Common Pleas Court Probate Division under Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer.
Colavecchio was the only nominee for the post. She was nominated by Tim Gorbach (D), the chairman of the Summit County Board of Elections and a former Cuyahoga Falls City Councilmember.
She will serve until a clerk is elected in November to serve the remainder of the term, which expires Dec. 31, 2015.Colavecchio has said she will seek election in the fall.
She started working as clerk of courts on Jan. 10.
"I want to thank Mrs. Colavecchio for outstanding service to the citizens of Cuyahoga Falls," City Council President Don Walters (D-6) said. "It's been a pleasure … you'll be greatly missed by this body. Thank you for your service."
"It's been a pleasure serving with you, and an honor, as well," said Councilmember Carol Klinger (R-At Large). "Best of luck in your new position. I know you'll be very successful."
"In my 30-plus years involved in Cuyahoga Falls government, I can't remember a Councilperson with a more level-headed and objective approach," said Mayor Don Robart.
Councilman Jeff Iula (R-At Large) said he will miss Colavecchio for a physical trait they have in common. "[We] have been called elves up here, and now I'm going to be the only elf," Iula quipped.
Visibly moved by Council's tributes and well-wishes, Colavecchio, seated up front with her husband, Paul, dabbed her eyes with a tissue.
"It's been a wonderful seven years," Colavecchio said. "I've learned a lot from all of you."
Moving the city forward and doing what's best for its citizens has always been "everyone's goal," she said. "It's a privilege to sit here tonight as your clerk of courts but, I'll tell you, I will miss you deeply."
"I appreciate Diana's leadership and her being a mentor to me during my first year on City Council," said Carrie Hummel Snyder (D-At Large). "It's meant a lot to me and I wish her all the best as clerk of courts."
In a previous interview, Colavecchio said her major accomplishments on Council included obtaining the Cuyahoga Falls School Board's support of the Tax Increment Financing agreement for the Portage Crossing development, as well as "keeping the levels of communication open" between the administration and City Council, and between herself and her constituents. She noted she kept her word on hosting quarterly ward meetings.
"I'm leaving the city in good hands … there's a lot of capable, quality talent on City Council now," said Colavecchio. "They'll continue to do a great job. I'm confident of that."
Colavecchio was elected to Cuyahoga Falls City Council in 2005 and was re-elected three times to the two-year term. She served as Council President in 2010 and 2011.
How the replacement Process works
Any city resident in Ward 5 with an interest in serving in the position vacated by Diana Colavecchio should contact Megan Moreland, Summit County Democratic Party executive director, at 330-434-1311. Any candidate must have maintained their primary residence within the city for a period of three years preceding the appointment and also have maintained their primary residence within Ward 5 for six consecutive months immediately preceding the appointment, per the city's charter, said Cuyahoga Falls City Council President Don Walters. The prospective candidate does not have to be a Democrat.
Walters said the Democratic Precinct Committee has 30 days from Colavecchio's Jan. 10 resignation date to fill the vacancy. If the committee does not make the appointment in that timeframe, City Council has 30 days to make the appointment. If Council does not meet that deadline, the mayor would select the successor.
Walters added that the person appointed would have to run for election in November to maintain the seat for two more years.
Editor's note: Editor Phil Keren contributed to this article.