Probate Court Judge Anthony Russo Accepting Applications for Ken Johnson's Interim Replacement


Ken Johnson, 37 years on Cleveland city council. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL
  • Photo courtesy of Cleveland City Council
  • Ken Johnson, 37 years on Cleveland city council.

A statement posted to the Cuyahoga County Probate Court’s website Thursday announced that Presiding Judge Anthony Russo will be accepting applications from those interested in filling Ward 4 Cleveland City Councilman Ken Johnson's seat.

Johnson was suspended from office earlier this week by a panel of retired judges who had been appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor. Johnson was arrested in February and indicted on felony corruption charges related to theft in office and falsifying monthly expense reports. Johnson maintains his innocence and appealed earlier suspension attempts. With limited exceptions, his colleagues on council have been mum on his misconduct. 

Those who want to be considered for the interim role — including the 13 candidates, not including Johnson himself, who have already pulled petitions at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections — must submit a statement of interest by mail or email to Judge Russo before May 7.

Per the Court, applicants should "list the reasons they are interested in the position; their goals if appointed; and why they believe they are the best candidate for the position. A resume and three references should also be included." (Correspondence should be sent to Judge Anthony J. Russo, Cuyahoga County Probate Court, Room 221, 1 Lakeside Avenue West, Cleveland OH 44113; or by email to Sue Schwarten, Administrative Assistant to Presiding Judge Anthony J. Russo, at [email protected])

The Probate Court's message said that Russo would be accepting communication only from applicants for the position themselves, not from "any other persons or organizations on the applicants’ behalf." In a statement earlier this week, Cleveland City Council said they planned to work with the Probate Court on finding Johnson's replacement, but it looks as if Russo intends to handle the appointment personally.

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