Adelman Quits City Council, Goes to College – The Oberlin Review

Former Oberlin City Council President Heather Adelman joined Oberlin College as its new sustainability officer on Monday. To avoid a conflict of interest, Adelman announced his resignation from the city council on April 6 and officially left his position on April 24. Last week, the board elected Bryan Burgess to assume the presidency and fill Adelman’s previous role.

Adelman had been a board member since 2018 and chairman of the board since January. Every two years, the city council elects seven members who internally elect the leadership of the council for that term. Adelman resigned midway through his two-year term, leaving the Council to find a new member and elect a new president. Traditionally, when the President of the Council resigns, the Vice President serves as President until the next election. However, according to current City Council Vice President Kelley Singleton, he did not think he had enough time to take on the job.

“Yes, traditionally or by rule, I would normally have taken that position, but I can’t,” Singleton said. “I don’t have time to do it. I have a full time job and a family, two young boys. I don’t have the time the City deserves and the Council [deserves].”

Since Singleton was unable to fill the position, the council held an election at its meeting last week, unanimously electing former City Council Speaker Bryan Burgess to the position. However, Burgess explained that he doesn’t know how long he’ll stay in the role because he’s showing up at State House in the fall. He is expected to run in the Democratic primary for Ohio’s 56th district seat on May 3.

“I’m running for the Ohio State House, and depending on how the mapping process goes…I may or may not get elected this fall,” Burgess said. “I can’t tell you if I will be chairman of the board for the next eight months or the next 20. The City has many projects underway that I will be happy to lead over the next few months.”

Burgess is already considering specific proposals to rezone properties in Oberlin based on recommendations from the Oberlin Planning Commission. He also mentioned proposals to rezon Eastwood Elementary School to allow Oberlin College to use the building for academic purposes.

Burgess is also optimistic about facilitating greater interaction between College students and the Council.

“Hopefully we can get more public participation again,” he said. “Before COVID-19, it was common to have full hearings in council chambers. … It is very useful to have public comments, and the Council has had virtually none in the past two years.

As Burgess began her new role as president, Adelman moved into her new role as the College’s sustainability officer.

Adelman received a BA in Environmental Studies from San Jose State University and worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco, where she focused on waste management and construction community. As she steps into her new position, Adelman looks forward to re-entering the field of sustainability.

Adelman previously promoted sustainability at the College as a co-founder of the Oberlin Project, which focused on conservation and education both at the College and in the community. With this knowledge of the city of Oberlin and University communities, Adelman hopes to help College students create projects and pursue passions within sustainability that will benefit the entire community.

“I understand I will be working with and mentoring a number of interns,” Adelman said. “I’m really excited to work with the students on not just what the Office of Environmental Sustainability wants, but what [the students themselves] want and how these two priorities can combine to really deliver powerful projects.

Campus energy and resources manager Joel Baetens looks forward to the new perspectives that Adelman, along with other future recruits, will bring.

“Heather will serve in Bridget Flynn’s last post – Campus Sustainability Manager,” Baetens wrote in an email to the journal. “Structurally, not much has changed. However, with new faces and new perspectives, there are great benefits.

After Adelman’s arrival, OES will still have a vacancy in the position of assistant vice president of energy management and sustainable development occupied by Meghan Riesterer.

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