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Three Individuals Join the Akron Municipal Court In Grant Funded Housing Program Positions
12/21/2023

Three professionals have recently joined the Akron Municipal Court Housing Program in positions that are funded through grant dollars: Court Mediator Hope McGonigle, Housing Program Specialist/Facilitator Vyrone Finney and Court Navigator/Bailiff Tamara Brooks.

All three positions, as well as the hired individuals, are new to the Akron Municipal Court staff roster. They will assist litigants with identifying housing services and resources.

Hope McGonigle, Court Mediator
Hope McGonigle’s role was created and is funded through The Ohio Court Backlog Reduction Program, a project of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The Akron Municipal Court was one of 51 courts throughout the state to receive funding to reduce backlogs of pending court proceedings.

Ms. McGonigle received her undergraduate degree from Drexel University and her Masters of Legal Studies from Pepperdine University. Prior to accepting this position, she served as a volunteer mediator through the Akron Municipal Court’s online dispute resolution (ODR) program.

This newly added position provides alternative dispute resolution to the public through mediation of Akron Municipal Court Small Claims and Eviction cases. The Mediator facilitates discussions and communication with litigants from the eviction docket, rent escrow cases and small claims docket in an effort to reach an agreement by the parties.

Raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Ms. McGonigle owned and managed a company which designed and constructed commercial playground equipment. She has lived and worked in various regions of the United States, as well as abroad in China and The Philippines.

Ms. McGonigle and her husband reside in West Akron and enjoy spending time with their four children and grandchildren.

Ms. McGonigle joined the Akron Municipal Court in September 2023.


Vyrone Finney, Housing Program Specialist/Facilitator

Vyrone Finney’s position is funded through a large grant from the National Center for State Courts’ Eviction Diversion Initiative.

Mr. Finney earned his Bachelor of Science from Alabama State University and his master’s degree from The University of Akron. He has experience in real estate and property management.

The Housing Specialist/Facilitator provides services and referrals for litigants within the Housing Program.  The position primarily helps identify alternate housing arrangements, connects families to supportive services and/or financial assistance to help them return to permanent housing as well as resolve housing violations.

In this role, Mr. Finney will provide case management and referral services for identified families to help screen, identify resources for which they meet eligibility standards as well as connect litigants with a seamless transition to services for positive outcomes.

Mr. Finney joined the Akron Municipal Court in October 2023.


Tamara Brooks, J.D., Court Navigator/Bailiff
Tamara Brooks’ position is also funded through a large grant from the National Center for State Courts’ Eviction Diversion Initiative.

Ms. Brooks joins the Akron Municipal Court from the Summit County Legal Defender’s Office where she served as a Certified Law Clerk representing clients in criminal matters. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Political Science from The University of Akron. Tamara went on to obtain a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from The University of Akron School of Law.

As a law student, she served as President of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), Historian in the Law Association of Women and competed as an advocate in several national mock trial competitions. In addition to these leadership roles, Tamara graduated with an honors cord and was recognized by the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio Access to Justice Foundation after completing more than 500 hours of community service.

The Court Navigator/Bailiff will focus efforts on the informational and navigational operations of the Court, as well as the customer service and courtroom areas. This position performs non-lawyer assistance in providing legal information and support for both plaintiff and defendant pro se litigants, and will available to members of the public who need help with court services such as eviction, traffic and small claims cases.

Ms. Brooks was hired by the Akron Municipal Court in November 2023.

Akron Municipal Court Judges Ron Cable and Nicole Walker will lead efforts on the Housing Program which will promote workable solutions between landlords and tenants.

“We are grateful to have received grant funding to add these three professionals to our team,” said Akron Municipal Court Administrative/Presiding Judge David Hamilton. “My fellow Judges and I are confident these new roles will have a positive impact on our entire jurisdiction.”

“Our newly established Housing Program pairs well with the other community-focused initiatives we run at the Akron Municipal Court,” added Judge Ron Cable. “Both landlords and tenants will benefit from this opportunity for dispute resolution.”

“This program also aims to help indigent homeowners who have been cited by the City for failure to maintain utilities and make repairs find workable solutions that do not involve serving jail time,” noted Judge Walker.

All three positions are full-time.

Hope McGonigle

Hope McGonigle

Vyrone Finney

Vyrone Finney

Tamara Brooks

Tamara Brooks