Veteran Cleveland Councilman Ken Johnson resigns

11:54 AM, Jan 2, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Ken Johnson has been a Cleveland public servant for 47 years, 32 of them as a councilman representing Ward 4, the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood.

Johnson submitted a New Year's Eve letter to the Clerk of Council, announcing his intention to retire, effective Dec. 31.

"I've had a long wonderful career. I've enjoyed every minute of it," he told WKYC's Tom Beres.

Johnson could step down and ask his colleagues to reappoint him to allow him to collect his retirement and stay on the job, a practice called "double-dipping."

He says he has not decided whether or not to do that and is still discussing possibilities with his family.

Council would appoint his successor.

If he remains resigned, Johnson's departure may be one factor in how city council ward maps are reconfigured in the new year.

Because of population loss, council is losing two members, shrinking from 19 to 17 seats.

Johnson first worked for the city in the Recreation Department. He began serving on Council in 1980.

He  concentrated his efforts on recreation and economic development during his time in office.

He started free overnight summer and winter camping for young people in Cleveland at Camp George Forbes. 

He worked to install a water park at the recreation center named after him.

The Kenneth L. Johnson Recreation Center was dedicated in 2001.

He began street cleaning, tree cutting and snow shoveling programs for senior citizens and disabled residents.

He graduated from John Adams High School and attended Tri-C and Cleveland State University.

He is the  single father of seven sons, including a medical student, lawyer, fireman and two recreation directors.


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