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Pepper Pikes three newest council members take oath of office, are excited to get to work – cleveland.com

Pepper Pikes three newest council members take oath of office, are excited to get to work – cleveland.com


PEPPER PIKE, Ohio -- For the past few years, City Council has been made up entirely of men. But that changed at the start of this year with the addition of its three newest members, all of whom are women.

Sworn into council Wednesday (Jan. 5) as a group in a ceremony held in the fire department bay -- confines more spacious than the citys small council chambers -- were new Councilwomen Dr. Cathy Hwang, Melanie Weltman and Emmy Zatroch, along with returning Councilman Scott Newell.

Doing the honors was newly elected Shaker Heights Municipal Court Judge Anne Walton Keller.

I look forward to working with all of them, men and women, said Zatroch who, shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, joined the others in taking part in her first council meeting -- a brief affair held for organizational purposes.

During that meeting, council elected Councilman Jim LeMay as vice mayor, a job most recently held by former councilman Bob Freed, who did not seek re-election.

Weltman was elected to replace former councilman Richard Leskovec as councils representative to the citys Planning Commission. Leskovec was defeated in November in his bid for re-election.

LeMay was again named councils Finance Committee chair and Newell, Councilman Tony Gentile and Hwang were named to serve on councils Road, Infrastructure and Safety Committee, with Newell once again serving as chair.

Pepper Pike's newest City Council members, along with returning Councilman Scott Newell, were sworn into office in the city's fire station bay on Wednesday. From left are Newell, Councilwoman Cathy Hwang, Mayor Richard Bain, Shaker Heights Municipal Court Judge Anne Walton Keller, Councilwoman Melanie Weltman and Councilwoman Emmy Zatroch. (Photo Courtesy of Dr. Julian Perry)

All three of the new council representatives, when contacted after the Zoom meeting, expressed excitement and enthusiasm for their new roles.

Ive always been interested in local issues, Zatroch said when asked what prompted her, for the first time, to run for a council seat. Ive always looked for ways to get involved. Ive served on the PTA, and Ive served on our Orange Community Education and Recreation Commission.

A couple of local issues in Pepper Pike just really piqued my interest. I started tuning in by listening to the Beech Brook discussions (in 2019-20, in which mixed-used development was proposed for the property at 3737 Lander Road), and that really captured me.

So I kind of started looking around the room and thinking, There may be a place for me here. My husband (David Workman) said it would be great if I ran for City Council. I had his support, so I thought, Why not?

Zatroch, trained as a dental hygienist, works as a dental office manager and is the mother of an 11-year-old daughter. She is a Pepper Pike native and graduate of Orange High School.

I was exited to be successful in my campaign, and Im excited to serve our community, she said.

Hwang, a five-year Pepper Pike resident, is an oculoplastic surgeon with the Cleveland Clinic who performs eyelid surgery for those who have extra skin, a droopy eyelid or a tumor in the vicinity of the eye. She also cares for patients who have a fracture or have suffered trauma to the eye area.

A Georgia native, she moved to the area after 10 years at what is now the UCLA Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles. She is married to fellow oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Julian Perry and is the stepmother of three grown children.

Of her desire to run for council, Hwang said: I was, before, the vice chair of the Pepper Pike Civic League. And then I became interested when (council was) having the sewer project (discussions).

Im so excited to be part of council now to help increase communications with the residents, she said. I was just appointed to the Roads and Infrastructure Committee with Scott Newell and Tony Gentile, so hopefully we can improve the infrastructure around the city, help with flooding, the sewer conversions and maybe some more green/environmental energy.

Well see what we can do when we put our heads together.

In order to keep in touch with residents, Hwang has set up a website she encourages constituents to visit, cathyoncouncil.org.

Weltman comes to council after serving more than eight years as a member of the Orange Board of Education. Weltman is a lawyer who now works in the field of commercial real estate management.

The parent, along with husband, Scott, of three adult children, Weltman said of serving on council: Theres a lot I want to dig into and learn. I want to learn from the other council people, obviously.

I have a great interest in infrastructure so, not immediately, but as I spend more time on council I have a lot of concerns about water and sewer issues that I really want to look into and focus on. Im definitely ready to dig in and work on all the various issues in our community.

As for making the switch from the school board to council, Weltman said: It was more wanting to continue doing something for my community. I grew up in Pepper Pike and Ive lived here a long time -- over 40 years of my life, cumulatively. So this was just another opportunity I saw to contribute to our community.

I loved being on the school board and still care tremendously about the schools. I think theyre a key asset to Pepper Pike and the other communities. But I was on the school board eight-and-a-half years and this seemed like something I could do, now that my kids are older, thats different and that would allow me to contribute in another way.

Speaking about the new council members, Mayor Richard Bain, who runs the council meetings, said: I think theyre three bright, very talented people and Im looking forward to a lot of productive conversations and business being done. I think theyll all do a good job for the city.

New responsibilities

Bain was elected, as of Jan. 1, to be the new president of the Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association. Bain will serve a two-year term as president.

The Cuyahoga County Mayors and Managers Association has become an important voice advocating the interests of northeastern Ohio and the region, Bain said. And Im very proud to lead and work with the organization during this period.

Read more from the Chagrin Solon Sun.

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Pepper Pikes three newest council members take oath of office, are excited to get to work - cleveland.com

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