Kristen Bates Aylward appointed Canton law director

On Tuesday, Democratic Central Committee members of Canton appointed her for the remainder of recently retired law director Joseph Martuccio’s elected term

CANTON It’s official. Kristen Bates Aylward is Canton’s new law director.

She was appointed acting law director by Mayor Thomas Bernabei earlier this month and has been the city’s chief deputy counsel since 2006.

On Tuesday, Democratic Central Committee members of Canton appointed her for the remainder of recently retired law director Joseph Martuccio’s elected term, which runs through 2019. Phil Giavasis, chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party, said there were 26 committee members present and Bates Aylward was the only applicant.

Bates Aylward thanked the voting members and invited her “mentor,” Martuccio, to swear her in.

“Without your vote, I would not have my dream job, and without my boss, I wouldn’t have my dream job,” she told those gathered at City Hall.

Martuccio, Canton’s longest-serving law director, then administered the oath of office to Bates Aylward while her husband, son and her son’s girlfriend stood by. Martuccio praised his successor’s work ethic and qualifications, emphasizing how her appointment will make the people of Canton proud.

“We never had to mention it because Kris is so exceptionally qualified and so deserving of this position in every way,” Martuccio added, “but you have just appointed the first female law director in the city of Canton.”

As chief deputy counsel, Bates Aylward has represented Canton in state and federal courts, and during labor negotiations. She also drafted city ordinances and helped the former law director manage a roughly $1 million department budget, according to her resume.

Prior to joining the city Law Department in 2006, Bates Aylward spent nearly 20 years in the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office. She served as an assistant prosecutor in the civil and criminal divisions and then as chief of the juvenile and civil divisions.

She also spent some time at private law firms in the late ’80s and mid-’90s.

Bates Aylward obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science and business from Muskingum University and graduated from University of Akron School of Law. She’s been a member of the Stark County Bar Association, local Democratic political groups and other nonpartisan community organizations.

During a speech after her swearing-in, Bates Aylward thanked family members, including her father and youngest son who could not attend. She also recognized the influence her deceased mother had on her life.

“She didn’t have opportunities as a young woman to go to college or do those things,” Bates Aylward said. “She always told me I could do it, and she always encouraged me.”

Bates Aylward later noted that the three largest cities in Stark County — Canton, Masillon and Alliance — now have women law directors.

Her first order of business as Canton’s law director, Bates Aylward said, will be meeting with office staff to review operations. She has some ideas about how best to organize the department but said she wants to lead a collaborative effort.

“I want to get their ideas about how we can improve,” Bates Aylward said.

Reach Kelly at 330-580-8323


On Twitter: @kbyerREP

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