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Mayor Malik Announces Appointments In Law, Fire, And The Mayor’s Office



Akron, Ohio, Jan. 2, 2024 — This morning, Mayor Shammas Malik is announcing additional key appointments to his Cabinet and administration. Deborah Matz is joining as Director of Law beginning Jan. 16 while Brian Angeloni and Michael Defibaugh are being promoted to Deputy Law Directors. Angeloni will fill the role of Acting Director of Law until Matz begins, and Defibaugh will be Acting Director of Human Resources (HR) until that position is filled. Mayor Malik is also welcoming Lauren Marsh from the Together for Akron transition team as Assistant to the Chief of Staff, and Chief Natko is continuing in his current role as head of the Akron Fire Department.  

 

“The roles we are announcing today are critical to the city’s ultimate success,” said Mayor Malik. “I’m pleased to welcome Deb Matz into the administration as she brings an impressive depth of experience to the role. Both Brian Angeloni and Mike Defibaugh are experts in their field and will continue the great work they’ve consistently brought to this team. Lauren Marsh has been instrumental during my transition, and I’m excited she’ll be joining us as Assistant to the Chief of Staff. Chief Natko has proven himself to be an insightful leader with decades of knowledge and experience with this department and I’m glad to retain his leadership.”  

 

Deborah Matz – Director of Law 

 

Deborah S. Matz currently serves as the Director of the Department of Law and Risk Management for the County of Summit Executive.  In that role, she acts as General Counsel to the County Executive and is the Director of the Executive’s Law and Risk Management Department through which she oversees the County’s liability insurance programs as well as all county contracting and related issues and litigation involving all departments and offices of the County. Matz is also responsible for the operation of the Records Center and manages public records and public meeting issues for Executive. She also provides general counsel services to the Summit and Medina Workforce Area Council of Governments as well as the Summit Area Regional Council of Governments which operates the Consolidated Dispatch Center. 

 

Prior to serving with the County Executive, Matz was a Magistrate in the Summit County Domestic Relations Court for ten years.  In that role, she heard and decided cases involving divorce, dissolution, post decree modification matters, paternity issues, child support contempt and civil domestic violence. 

 

She began her career with the County as a Judicial Attorney working in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, General Division where she performed legal research, writing, drafting of policies and procedures for jury management, reimbursement by Ohio Public Defender’s Commission of appointed counsel fees and expenses, as well as employment policies and procedures.   

 

Prior to her work for the County, she was an Attorney in private practice focusing primarily on family law issues. Matz holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Akron School of Law as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration with a dual degree in Finance and Real Estate and a Masters of Science Accounting from Kent State University. 

 

Matz is active in the Akron Bar Association including membership on Grievance and Judicial Evaluation Committees and is the secretary of the Law Library Resources Board – which operates the Summit County Law Library.  Matz is also a graduate of Class VII of the Summit County Child and Family Leadership Exchange.  

 

Brian Angeloni – Deputy Law Director/Acting Director of Law 

 

Brian Angeloni began his legal career in private practice at a full-service, Akron-based law firm, where he focused primarily on complex financial insolvency matters. During this time, he was an active member of the Akron legal community serving on the Attorney Constituent Group for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Grievance Investigation Subcommittee of the Akron Bar Association and as an Akron Bar Foundation Fellow. Angeloni was awarded the designation “Super Lawyers Rising Star” multiple times while in private practice.  

 

In 2016, Angeloni joined the City of Akron’s Law Department as an Assistant Director of Law. His practice primarily focuses on transactional work, but also includes a wide-array of municipal law issues, including economic development and real estate, inter-governmental relations, public finance, ethics, public records, legislation, land use and zoning, and collections. He has acted as liaison to, and legal counsel for, Akron City Council and numerous other boards and commissions. In 2021, Angeloni was promoted to the role of Senior Counsel for Administration and Development and, as a result, he oversees all of the City’s transactional matters and has a significant role in managing the internal, day-to-day, operations of the City’s Law Department. 

 

Angeloni is a graduate of Mount Union College (now, the University of Mount Union) and The University of Akron School of Law, where he was an associate editor for Akron’s Law Review. Brian is licensed to practice law in Ohio, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  

 

Brian and his wife, Stephanie, are grateful to worship and serve at Redemption Chapel in Stow, where they are active members. Brian and Stephanie have three children together.  

 

Michael Defibaugh – Deputy Law Director/Acting Director of Human Resources

 

Mike Defibaugh began his legal career with the City of Akron Law Department in 2000 as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Criminal Division, where he prosecuted criminal cases on behalf of the City of Akron and the State of Ohio. In 2002, Defibaugh joined the Civil Division as an Assistant Director of Law. His practice primarily focuses on representing the City of Akron in complex civil litigation involving constitutional claims, EMS medical claims, personal injury and employment discrimination claims in state and federal courts. Defibaugh has conducted several jury trials and has handled appeals before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Ninth District Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Ohio. He also provides day-to-day legal advice to City departments on a wide variety of labor and employment matters, including labor contract interpretations, union grievances, employee disciplines, City policies, leave management, employment laws and serves as Counsel for the Human Resources Commission. Defibaugh currently serves as Senior Counsel for Labor, Employment and Litigation, where he oversees all of the City’s active litigation and labor and employment matters. As Senior Counsel, he also participates in managing the internal operations of the City’s Law Department.  

 

Defibaugh is a graduate of Kent State University and the University of Dayton School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Ohio, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.  

 

Defibaugh resides in Akron with his wife, Kerri, and their son. He enjoys sports, spending time with their dogs and watching his son play football.  

 

Lauren Marsh - Assistant to the Chief of Staff  

 

Lauren Marsh is a proud lifelong Akron resident. She attended Firestone High School and the University of Akron, majoring in Political Science and Criminology. Due to her strong track record of promoting productive relationships among the community and elected officials, she was selected to serve as Regional Party Affairs Director for the Ohio Democratic Party. In this role, she was responsible for building and maintaining relationships with county parties, elected officials, activists, and grassroots labor leaders and connecting them to the party's resources. After this position, Marsh was appointed the first African American Clerk of Council for Summit County Council. In 2023, Marsh was elected the President of the Akron Urban League Young Professionals. She’s an active member of Torchbearers (Class of 2019), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Federated Democratic Women of Summit County. In 2023, she was selected as a fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Institute in Washington, DC, receiving extensive public policy and leadership development training. 

  

Marsh has been active in her community and has received numerous awards and accolades for her involvement in Northeast Ohio. She was recognized in 2020 as an Akron Beacon Journal Unsung Hero for her commitment to volunteerism. Her activism and involvement in politics led to her being awarded the 2022 Russell M. Pry Young Democrat of the Year Award from the Summit County Democratic Party.  

She founded the Firestone Dance and Step Team and served as the Head Coach for 15 years at Firestone High School. Marsh enjoys shopping, volunteering in her community, and listening to music. She’s an accomplished pianist and the mother of a busy toddler. 

 

Joseph Natko – Chief of the Akron Fire Department 

 

Chief Natko first began his career with the Akron Fire Department (AFD) in March of 1991 as a firefighter/medic. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1997, Captain in 2005, Provisional District Chief in 2011, District Chief in 2015, Deputy Chief in 2022, and later in 2022 took on the top job of Akron Fire Chief. He holds an Associate’s Degree of Technical Studies from the University of Akron and earned his Ohio Fire Executive certification in 2014. Chief Natko is continuing his education at Stark State College where he is pursuing a degree in Emergency Management and Homeland Security.  

During his career, Chief Natko has initiated and managed several programs at AFD including: Electronic Patient Care Reporting Program (EPCR), Opiate Quick Response Team (QRT), Alternate Response Vehicle (non-emergent ambulance), PulsePoint (civilian CPR alerts), REACH (community paramedicine), ET3 (Telehealth), and Health Data Exchange (HDE). He’s also a proud graduate of Leadership Akron Class 35. 

 

Chief Natko is a devoted husband and a father of three children. He and his family attend The Chapel and actively serve there on a regular basis. 

  

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