Linda Slocum, Past President of City Council – The Oberlin Review
City Council President Linda Slocum has served the Oberlin community as a member of City Council since 2016. Slocum has chosen not to run for re-election this fall. After working for 17 years as the Donations Librarian and Editor-in-Chief of Oberlin College Press, Slocum retired from college in 2012. A small reception will be held on December 20 to celebrate Slocum and his fellow outgoing Council member. Mary Price.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Can you tell me a bit about what you did before joining City Council?
I worked at Oberlin College, actually. I was the donations librarian at the main library at Mary Church Terrell, and I was also editor-in-chief of the Oberlin College Press. These are two part-time jobs that I combined for one full-time job. The reason I thought I might run for the Council was because I have been a member of the League of Women Voters for a long time – since the 1970s – and I just realized that there were difficulties in the Council of ‘Oberlin at the time. It was very mixed on what to do with the renewable energy credits that the City had accumulated, and I just thought that my experience in the League, my way of approaching problems from all sides and my approach. working with people could be useful to the Council.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
One of the things I am most proud of is that from the start I have encouraged cooperation between the municipal schools in Oberlin and Oberlin College. I had said that the ideal place for the City and the schools to work together would be in the new high school, to make it more efficient. Although they didn’t come to the sustainable reserve program funds for money for their electric lights and things like that, they decided to install a solar panel, and the city was able to help them with around 250 $ 000 that we were able to give the schools towards the table. I just think this is the perfect example of what this money was intended for as it will also save taxpayers in the long run as the school will have less electricity bills. Ultimately, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Can you describe some of the other challenges you encountered during the years you served Oberlin?
Oh, well, it’s easy, isn’t it? It’s COVID-19. I mean, it will always be the first part of the sentence, “Despite COVID-19, we have accomplished this or that. COVID added layers and layers of difficulty. It’s been very difficult, and when I say COVID, that includes what happened right after that with George Floyd and all the turmoil throughout the Trump era. It was just very difficult. We had just started with the new Council in January. It was March, so the new Council hadn’t really organized well. We were just trying to get our rhythm and then it happened. It really was still the giant elephant in the room.
I can imagine. Well I don’t have to imagine – we’ve all been living with this for two years.
Exactly. That was the good part, right? We were all in the same boat and I think there were a lot of good lessons. I have certainly realized that there is beauty around us. Just walking around my own neighborhood is wonderful. I don’t need to travel anywhere else. There is a lot to learn: how do you help people? Who are you helping? How can we help them effectively? And then what can you do legally? It gets really complicated. But I am so happy. It has been such a privilege. I learned a lot and was really challenged. Hope i grew up in the job. I did my best.
So what made you want to retire?
It looks like you are going strong. Can I tell my husband? [laughs.] I retired from Oberlin College in 2012. I wish I had more freedom to travel, visit my grandchildren, things like that. Work immobilizes you. I don’t think it’s necessary, but I’m the type of person where it takes a lot of time and thought. It lives in your head a lot, so it will be nice to clarify that a bit. I also think you should always leave a party when it’s going well, and I think we’re going in such a great direction and accomplishing so much, so I think it’s a good time to go.