By Sue Botos
When former Rocky River Councilwoman at Large Anjanette Whitman left her post in June to take a seat on the bench of Cuyahoga County Court of Commons Pleas’ Juvenile Division, she promised that she would continue to serve the city. Now that she has been defeated in her re-election bid, and her old council seat has been vacated, she may get that chance to do so, in a familiar way.
Whitman was appointed by Gov. John Kasich to replace juvenile court Judge Peter Sikora, who died in April due to complications from pneumonia. The term expires in December 2016, but Whitman was required to run for election, and was defeated by Michael John Ryan last week.
Meanwhile, Whitman’s successor on City Council, Fred DeGrandis, has left the seat empty to take charge of the Cleveland Clinic’s operation in the United Arab Emirates, and is already behind his desk in the Middle East.
Do these circumstances add up to a council comeback for Whitman?
When reached the day after election, Whitman was upbeat, and said she is weighing her options, but a return to her old seat is not out of the question. “We’ll see what happens. There are all kinds of options out there and a variety of challenges,” she said.
Whitman, a Rocky River native, had served as a councilwoman at large since 2008. A standout in cross country and track at Rocky River High School, she continued to coach cross country at Magnificat High School, as she has since 2002, during her tenure as judge. Prior to being appointed judge, Whitman was in solo legal practice, specializing in family law. She received her degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
Since this is an unprecedented situation, city officials are not quite sure whether Whitman can be restored to her council seat, or if she would be required to go through the interview process with other applicants for the council position. “We’re not quite sure what will happen yet,” commented Mayor Pam Bobst.
No matter what happens, Whitman said her experience in the court was a good one. “The outpouring of support from start to finish is something that I’ll always treasure,” she stated.