Beachwood City Law Director Diane A. Calta will resign in mid-April at the earliest to take a position with Mansour Gavin LPA of Cleveland and Independence.
City Council president James Pasch confirmed Feb. 22 the resignation of Calta in a news release. She was appointed as Beachwood law director in April 2018.
“It is a bittersweet moment for us – while we are happy for Ms. Calta, this is certainly a loss for Beachwood and our residents,” Pasch said in the statement. “During her time here, Diane led the law department through challenging moments, especially this past year in helping the administration and council navigate the legal challenges presented by the pandemic. We wish nothing but the best for Diane and her family and are grateful that Diane has agreed to stay on during a transition.
“Councilman (Eric) Synenberg will lead a search process as the chair of the legal committee and I have full confidence that our legal department will continue to thrive,” Pasch said.
When contacted by the Cleveland Jewish News Feb. 23 and asked about Calta’s pending resignation, Pasch said no one asked Calta to resign and he had nothing further to add.
The announcement comes at a critical point for Beachwood as it is embroiled in legal action on multiple fronts.
On Feb. 18, the city held a hearing for Beachwood police officer Blake Rogers who had been on paid administrative leave for a year-and-a half pending investigation of his officer-involved shooting of a shoplifting suspect at the Beachwood Place parking lot. Rogers was terminated Feb. 22.
That investigation was mired by delays, partly resulting from decisions and inexperience of Calta and the law department, Beachwood City Council members said at a meeting a year after the June 27, 2019 shooting.
Rogers has sued city officials, including Calta, in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, partly over the length of time the investigation has taken.
Calta recused herself when the city undertook an investigation of Mayor Martin S. Horwitz in 2019.The city appointed Kenneth J. Fisher of Cleveland as special counsel to sit with Beachwood City Council Oct. 30, 2019, when special counsel Carole Rendon and Carrie Valdez, both of BakerHostetler, publicly read their executive summary of an investigation they were asked to conduct. Calta sat in the audience.
A member of the law department staff, Whitney Crook, who is both city council clerk and legal assistant, received a settlement of $16,000 in May 2020 after she accused Horwitz of inappropriate conduct. In July 2020, the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, publisher of the Cleveland Jewish News, sued Calta and the city of Beachwood in the Ohio Supreme Court for violations of the state’s Sunshine Law, which determines records available to the public.
Also during Calta’s tenure, a special prosecutor criminally charged councilman Mike Burkons with interfering in the civil rights of a Beachwood resident Sept. 25, 2020. Burkons, who was also censured by council in the same matter, is challenging the city’s authorization of the special prosecutor through the Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals in Cleveland.
Calta will begin her position at Mansour Gavin in April. She will continue to work for Beachwood through at least mid-April to complete pending matters and assist with any transition, according to the release.
Mansour Gavin President Anthony Coyne said in the release, “We have been looking to add Ms. Calta to our team for some time, and it appears the third time is the charm. Her extensive experience in public law, litigation, employment law, and real estate law will be a perfect fit for our firm.”
Prior to serving as Beachwood’s law director, Calta was the law director for the city of Green. Prior to that, she was an associate with Walter | Haverfield and a member of its public law group.
She has also served as the assistant director of law for the city of Pepper Pike, special legal counsel for economic development for Mayfield, as well as an assistant director of law for several other Northeast Ohio communities, including Mayfield, Chagrin Falls, Bentleyville and Macedonia, and as an assistant prosecutor for Bratenahl.
Calta resides in Cleveland Heights, with her husband, Brad Bryan, also a law director, their daughter, and two dogs.