The empty Council Chamber at City Hall
The Council Chamber at City Hall Credit: Jeff Haynes / Signal Cleveland

Outgoing Cleveland City Council Member Brian Mooney is expected to recommend Danny Kelly to fill his seat in Ward 11 when he leaves council to join the common pleas bench, multiple people tell Signal Cleveland. 

Kelly, a retired union laborer, is active in the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party and has worked for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. He ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 16 council seat in a 2015 primary.

Mooney, a Democrat, defeated Republican Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg by a paper-thin margin in 2022. He will take his seat on the bench next week. A message seeking comment was left with him Thursday afternoon.

Council will discuss the coming Ward 11 vacancy at a caucus meeting Monday at noon. The body customarily approves an outgoing council member’s recommended successor. 

Mooney himself was appointed to fill a vacancy left by Dona Brady in Ward 11 in 2020. He won a full four-year term in 2021. 

Because Kelly would take office in the first half of that term, Cleveland will hold an election for the Ward 11 seat this fall. The winner of that vote would serve out the remainder of the term, which finishes at the end of 2025. 

The shakeup happens as council begins a redistricting process that will likely cut the body from 17 members to 15. The reduction of council would pit incumbents against one another in 2025, unless two choose not to run for another term.

Government Reporter (he/him)
Nick joins us from the world of public radio. He has more than a decade experience covering politics and government in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. In 2021, he produced and hosted "After Jackson: Cleveland's Next Mayor," an Ideastream Public Media podcast on the Cleveland mayoral race. He has also covered breaking news, opioid lawsuits and elections nationally for NPR.

Managing Editor, News (he/him)
Mark is a veteran journalist with experience in alternative media, print, digital and television news. For 19 years, he was a groundbreaking reporter and metro columnist with The Plain Dealer and Most recently, Mark spent three years as an investigative, enterprise and breaking news reporter at WKYC-TV, where his "Leading the Land" series on Cleveland's 2021 mayoral primary race earned a regional Emmy.