Third Ward Councilman Kevin E. Johnson began Monday evening’s Portsmouth City Council meeting as vice president, and ended it as the newly sworn-in acting mayor. Johnson, who was elected vice president of council over Gene Meadows of the 5th Ward during the first council meeting of the new year, stepped up to the mayoral position following the dramatic — and sudden — resignation two weeks ago by 4th Ward Councilman and then-Mayor Jim Kalb.
During his first-ever Mayor’s Report, Johnson took time to thank his predecessor for his many years of service to the city.
“He spent 20 years of his life, dedicating 20 years of service to our city. I’m very honored to know Mayor Kalb. He was always very respectful of me. From the time I joined city council, he was always there to lend an ear to me, help me with issues and questions,” Johnson said. “Tonight, I want to thank Mayor Kalb for his service to our city. I also want to thank his wife, Allison, who lived through the same thing with him being gone and him being at council meetings. I appreciate your service, and I appreciate what you did for our city.”
Another vacancy left in Kalb’s absence was that of 4th Ward representation on council. According to City Clerk Diana Ratliff, three interested parties submitted applications for the seat, but one individual dropped out at the last minute, leaving council to choose between Jerrold Albrecht and Isaac Peed. Albrecht was nominated by Jo Ann Aeh, and Peed was nominated by Sean Dunne. During voting, Albrecht received 4 of the 5 council votes, with Dunne in the minority. Albrecht is no stranger to Portsmouth City Council, having served previously as vice president of council.
With both the positions of mayor and 4th Ward seat filled, council moved into the legislative portion of the night’s meeting.
An ordinance authorizing the city manager to enter into a 25-year easement agreement with the state of Ohio of Real-Estate and Planning, representing Shawnee State University; an ordinance authorizing the vacation of the alley between 3rd St. and Farney Ave. as requested by Steve Falls and Mike Stapleton on behalf of Sciotoville Christian Church; and an ordinance authorizing the transfer of $21,739 from the city of Portsmouth General Fund to the Municipal Court Subsidy Fund were all given a third reading and passed by council. A fourth item, a resolution authorizing the city of Portsmouth to apply for, accept and enter into a cooperative agreement for construction of the sunrise reservoir 30-inch main replacement and pump station project between the city of Portsmouth and the Ohio Water Development Authority was also added to the meeting’s agenda, and the resolution was unanimously adopted.