Snyder, Marr make apologies to Council
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Dec 10, 2013 | 4635 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Retiring Cleveland Police Department Chief Wes Snyder and MainStreet Cleveland Executive Director Sharon Marr offered public apologies to city officials and the community during Monday’s session of the Cleveland City Council.

“I made a terrible mistake with a very dear and very good friend,” Snyder told Council members. “It plunged all of us into circumstances that are horrible, to say the least. I take full responsibility and complete responsibility for my actions. Without a doubt I have used poor judgment in this matter. So I stand here today and I will ask you for your forgiveness.”

Both Snyder and Marr asked for healing within the community, as well as a healing within themselves.

“I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve the community of Cleveland for 33 years,” the longtime law enforcement officer said. “It’s been a good 33 years. Some days better than others. I ask you for your forgiveness. Healing starts with the first step, so here’s the first step.”

The chief made his retirement official Friday with the effective date of Jan. 5, 2014. However, Snyder will be out of the office using vacation time for the duration of that time.

According to City Manager Janice Casteel, Capt. David Bishop will serve as interim police chief.

The retirement came after an incident report disclosed security video at Rhodes Climate Controlled Storage on Old Tasso Road had recorded Snyder and Marr rendezvousing at an on-site warehouse storage unit.

According to reports, as published in Sunday’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner, a rug, blanket and pillows were found in the unit after it was searched by the storage business owner and police department investigators.

“I will be brief and know that I am speaking from the heart,” Marr told Councilmen from the governing body’s crowded chambers. “I am truly sorry for the embarrassment that my actions have caused to this community, [to] the city [and] to MainStreet. Most of all, I am deeply sorry to my family, friends, Wes’ family and all the very good people who are hurting so badly at this time.”

She added, “This is a very personal matter that has played out in a horrific way and we are just going to heal and move through it. Please accept my sincerest apologies.”

MainStreet Cleveland President Joe Burton said the organization is conducting its own investigation into the incident.

“We are going to do a full review of the incident and we will be doing a financial audit — a third-party audit — of all MainStreet Cleveland funds just to make sure as a board that we know where we stand as it relates to this incident,” Burton said. “And we will refer to the Council on our recommendation coming out of that.”

He referred to the city of Cleveland as “a major stockholder in MainStreet Cleveland.”

The city of Cleveland provides MainStreet Cleveland with office space and makes a yearly donation of $25,000 to the organization, according to Casteel.

Casteel and Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland serve as nonvoting members of the MainStreet Cleveland board.

Burton offered no timeline for completing the investigation, but stressed that a thorough audit and review are needed.

Gary Sears, pastor at Mount Olive Ministries, also spoke. He encouraged the City Council to move on with the work of the city.

“I stand here as a person with clay feet, as does everyone in this room, recognizing that one bad decision doesn’t make a bad person,” Sears stressed. “So, I appeal to the community and to our leadership to continue your walk as you faithfully have in making decisions for our community.”

He added, “As a pastor I am trying to recognize families’ hurts … Jesus looked and said, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’ I don’t think there is any stone throwing that needs to be done here in our community. And I pray that we will take that higher road as you [in the role of] leadership in our city do through your faithfulness in leadership.”

Inset Quote:

“I made a terrible mistake with a very dear and very good friend. It plunged all of us into circumstances that are horrible, to say the least. I take full responsibility and complete responsibility for my actions. Without a doubt I have used poor judgment in this matter. So I stand here today and I will ask you for your forgiveness.” — Wes Snyder