Application deadline for CH council vacancy is Dec. 17
With Kahlil Seren, a current Cleveland Heights City Council member, set to become the city's mayor, his council seat will become vacant in January.
On Nov. 29, a special meeting of the Cleveland Heights Council Committee of the Whole brought together current council members, as well as those who will begin serving on council in January, to discuss “vacancy-filling procedures in anticipation of vacancy resulting from Kahlil Seren’s election as [m]ayor.”
Subsequent to the meeting, the city announced that council would be accepting applications from residents interested in being considered for the council vacancy.
The deadline to apply is Friday, Dec. 17. The application is available at www.clevelandheights.com/CouncilApplication.
At the Nov. 29 meeting, the city’s law director, Bill Hanna, explained, and answered questions related to, the new charter amendment which, for the first time, establishes a timetable to fill a council vacancy.
According to the charter amendment (Issue 31), which voters approved in the November election, city council members will have 45 days in which to fill a council vacancy, from the date the vacancy occurs. If council fails to fill the vacancy within 45 days, by a majority vote, the mayor will then have 10 days in which to fill the vacancy.
The amendment also stipulates that, “for any vacancy in Council not occurring in the year that the regular election for that office is scheduled, an election for the unexpired term shall be held at the next general election occurring more than one hundred and twenty (120) days after the date of the vacancy.”
Seren's unexpired term, to which a new council member will be appointed, ends on Dec. 31, 2023. The seat will be on the ballot in the November 2022 general election; whomever wins the seat in that election, whether it is the appointee or someone else, will then serve out the remainder of the unexpired term. The seat will be on the ballot again in 2023.
In their meeting, the current and future council members discussed a basic timetable and process for appointing the new council member, and strategized on how to get through the 45 days efficiently.
They also discussed qualities they would like to see in an applicant for the seat. These include: someone with a history of collaboration, capable of working with others, and active in the community; someone with a sense of public service, with maturity and good judgment; someone who can bring a unique perspective to council.
Video of the Nov. 29 meeting can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvcXrLwsi7g.
Kim Sergio Inglis
Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer, and is a Cuyahoga County master gardener volunteer.