ELYRIA — The lack of specific language in the city’s charter regarding the appointment of City Council members after a midterm vacancy is forcing elected leaders to find a fair and transparent process for appointing Mark Craig’s successor.
Craig, an independent who represents the city’s 4th Ward, announced his plans Tuesday to resign from Council and move from Elyria to Vermilion, making him ineligible to serve in the city.
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 has 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, 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.
Councilman Tom Callahan, D-at large, said members are working to come up with a plan.
“We will have a very open process,” he said. “I know a lot of people want this and we want to have a very transparent process.”
Callahan said starting Monday, Council will begin accepting cover letters and resumes from residents in the 4th Wward starting 8 a.m. Monday to 4 pm. July 31.
All documents must be received in the Council Clerk’s Office at Elyria City Hall, 131 Court St., where each submission will be time-stamped and recorded.
“It is highly recommended that it is dropped off in person so every cover letter and resume is accounted for,” Callahan said. “If they cannot make it to City Hall, please send by certified mail because it must be received in the office (by) the deadline.”
The clock starts ticking Aug. 1 on appointing the replacement.
Callahan said more details on that portion of the process should be available today after a meeting with Serazin. But “every Council member will have an opportunity to read each resume and cover letter,” he said. “We all want to get this right. We want the right candidate. We don’t want it to be political.”
Jack Baird, the lone Republican who serves at-large, said this the first time in the years he has been on Council that an independent has resigned.
“So really this opens it up to any and everybody,” he said. “And I think that’s what we are going to do. We are focused on finding the right person regardless of political party. It’s important for everyone that we do this in a transparent way.”
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