Marion Anita Gardner Appointed to Fill Ken Johnson's City Council Seat


  • Photo courtesy of Cleveland City Council
  • Ken Johnson

Cuyahoga County Probate Court Judge Anthony Russo has appointed Marion Anita Gardner to serve the brief remainder of Ward 4 Cleveland City Councilman Ken Johnson's term.

Johnson was arrested on federal corruption charges in February and was suspended from his seat by a panel of retired justices appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Gardner, according to Russo, will not be running for a full four-year term this fall. In a statement, Russo said that he determined an applicant who did not intend to run for the seat would be preferable.

Eighteen candidates applied to replace Johnson in an interim capacity. Roughly half of them also pulled petitions to run for the seat this fall. Russo conducted interviews with the candidates over the past few weeks.

"Ms. Gardner stood out during the interview process for her advocacy and dedication to the residents of Ward 4," Russo wrote. "Specifically, Ms. Gardner is the Chief Executive Officer of Concerned Citizens Community Council and has worked tirelessly to address the issues of housing, childcare, transportation, job training, health care, and more for the residents of Ward 4. She has been a vocal advocate for the community and will continue to use her knowledge and experience to best serve the residents as the interim Councilperson."

Gardner won't be serving for long. The primary elections — in which Ken Johnson has pulled petitions to reclaim his seat — are in September. Gardner's interim term will run until Dec. 31, 2021.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.