By Sue Botos
The more things change for Rocky River City Council, the more they stay the same.
In an unprecedented move, Anjanette Whitman has been appointed by council, to the at-large position she vacated in June to accept a seat on the bench in the Juvenile Division of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.
“Out of 20 applicants, she was the best- qualified. We did not do this quickly,” council president Jim Moran told West Life. He added that council spent over an hour in executive session after its Nov. 26 public meeting, sifting through the lengthy list of applicants who had been interviewed throughout the month. Moran stressed that no acceptions were made, and council adhered to the usual interview process.
Whitman left council, where she had served as a councilwoman at large since 2008, to accept the position of juvenile court judge after being appointed by Gov. John Kasich to serve the term of Peter Sikora, who died in April due to complications from pneumonia. Although the term does not expire until Dec. 2016, Whitman was required to run for election in November. She was defeated by Michael Ryan.
After Whitman’s departure, former school board member Fred DeGrandis was appointed to the at-large seat. After serving about three months, DeGrandis went on to take the helm of the Cleveland Clinic operation in the United Arab Emirates. DeGrandis has commented that the job offer was a complete surprise, and that he had no idea that it would be made prior to accepting the council seat.
Whitman continued as cross country coach at Magnificat High School, as she had since 2002, during her tenure as judge. The Rocky River native had been in solo legal practice, specializing in family law, prior to her appointment to the bench. She said that she will continue to weigh her career options as she settles back into her council position.
“I’m ready to come back. I’ve been keeping up with the budget issues,” Whitman commented. She said that her last day on the bench will be Dec. 7. She will then be sworn in as a council member on Dec. 10.