SALEM - City Council President Mickey Cope Weaver said she won't be seeking a Council-At-Large seat or a return to the President's chair this year, announcing Sunday that her time in city government will end in December.
"This has been a very difficult decision for me to make," she said in a press release. "I thank all of you for your encouragement and support and ask that you continue to work for this fine city and its people."
When contacted by phone and asked for a reason, she said she "won't say why, not at this time."
Elected to the post of council president in 2009 as a Republican, she said she had already made up her mind about not running for re-election a while ago. Councilman K. Bret Apple, a Democrat, had approached her to see if she planned to run again and she said "I honestly felt he would do a great job."
Apple, who currently holds one of the three council-at-large seats, filed to run for the Democratic nomination for council president instead of running for re-election as a councilman.
"I think Bret will make an excellent President of Council," Weaver said, noting that's when she started to look at a council seat as an Independent.
Republican Councilman Rick Drummond, who will end his second year representing the Third Ward in December with two years remaining on his term, also filed to run for President of Council, as a Republican.
Republican Council-At-Large members Brian Whitehill and Jeff Cushman both filed to seek election to their seats, with Whitehill seeking a second four-year term and Cushman seeking his first full term after serving two years as an appointee. No Democrats filed.
Roy Paparodis recently announced plans to file for a council-at-large seat as an Independent. When asked if that played into her decision to not run, Weaver said "not in the least."
She had also talked about running for Perry Township Trustee, but said she has not decided yet whether to file or not. The filing deadline for trustee isn't until August since it's non-partisan. The filing deadline for Independents to file for President of Council, Council-At-Large or City Treasurer is May 6, the day before the primary.
In her press release, Weaver said that since she assumed her role in city government, she has "worked to learn the operations of the city and to set a new standard for the position of President of Council."
"My attendance record at the regular and special meetings of council is excellent. I have also made it a point to attend the majority of the various committee meetings and many of the commission meetings. I did this to learn as much as possible and to contribute to discussions regarding the city," she wrote.
"I also felt that as a direct result of my attendance, I was able to assist council members in their assigned roles by keeping them informed of upcoming issues. Communication has been one of the key improvements I have made while in office. This includes sending to all council, administration and media detailed schedules of upcoming meetings with agendas to be presented. This has enabled the Council members to be better prepared not only for meetings but also for answering questions posed by their constituents," she said.
Weaver explained that "this advance notice has also allowed the public the opportunity to attend council and/or committee meetings with any questions or concerns they may have. I have welcomed these individuals to openly state their views and hopefully allayed their fears at voicing these opinions before the governing body of the city."
She also expressed her pride for the city's employees, noting that all the departments work with minimum staffing "and yet, time and again, I see these employees stepping up and exceeding their given assigned responsibilities. Whether it was through departments helping one another, employees coming up with creative ideas to help with the finances of the city, administrators securing grants or employees volunteering free time to assist with city-sponsored activities (i.e. cruise, organ donor program, etc.) - all have represented the city well."
Weaver said she also gives back to the city where she grew up. One of the original people to organize and open the ReStore for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Columbiana County, she has been active with the Salem Historical Society and assembled the Museum of Transportation and Industry located inside the Dale Shaffer Research Library, which was opened last August.
She has helped Mobile Meals with the delivery of food and is a member of various organizations and committees throughout the city. A retiree, she said she plans to continue that involvement.