ELYRIA — City Councilman Mark Craig, an independent who represents the city’s 4th Ward, announced Tuesday plans to resign from Council and move from Elyria to Vermilion.
In a letter sent to the Chronicle-Telegram, Craig said he “decided to pursue another opportunity that will cause me to relocate my residence outside of the 4th Ward, and outside of the city of Elyria. Therefore, I have submitted notice of my resignation, effective July 31.”
Craig served on Council for more than 10 years.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank you, the residents of the 4th Ward, and the residents of the city of Elyria, for all of your support over the past decade,” he wrote. “I worked hard to make my ward and the city a better place and I’ve had the opportunity to speak and meet with hundreds of residents across the city as they voiced their concerns and provided input concerning the city’s operations and challenges.”
Later in the afternoon Tuesday, Craig said he just took possession of his new home in Vermilion and thinks he will move by the end of the month. He said he is resigning immediately so there are no questions about his residency until his Elyria home sells.
“I know I am leaving so I want no questions out there. I can no longer serve the city of Elyria in that capacity,” he said. “I will continue to practice law in the city and my wife, Kristen, will continue her role of director of religious education at St. Jude School.”
Long before his time on Council, Craig put his civic foot forward working with Elyrians for Fair Taxation, a group of residents who sought a charter amendment that would require a citywide vote to approve any income tax increase or reduction in the income tax credit, which forgives some city taxes for those who work outside the city.
Craig, his wife Kristen Craig and Ed Sinegar led the group.
Craig first took his seat in November 2007 when he bested then-Councilwoman Bonnie Ivancic. It was a close race in a year when two independents snagged seats away from two entrenched Democrats.
Since that first year, Craig has served as a watchdog of Council, a body with a Democratic majority that mostly moves in unison.
In his letter of resignation to Council President Mike Lotko, Craig said he was leaving with a heavy heart.
“This work must now be carried on by someone else,” he said.
Law Director Scott Serazin said it will be up to the remaining 10 Council members to select and appoint Craig’s replacement.
The city’s charter spells out that if an independent leaves Council then the vacancy is filled by a majority vote of the remaining members. The seat has to be filled within 30 days from the time the vacancy occurs or the mayor will get to appoint the replacement.
However, the charter does not spell out the selection process. Serazin said it will be up to Council to determine whether applications will be sought from interested residents or whether Council members will just go out and find someone to represent the 4th Ward.
Serazin did say he would recommend that discussions about the replacement take place in an open meeting as he does not believe it falls under Sunshine Law provisions for executive sessions.
The appointee will hold the seat until the end of 2019 unless re-elected in the November 2019 general election.