Now that Marysville City Councilperson Tracy Richardson has won the race for Ohio District 86 Representative, there’s just one more question: what will happen to her seat on city council?
“We can’t do anything until the seat is vacant,” said Mayor J.R. Rausch.
That ward seat that represents the Mill Valley area won’t become vacant until Richardson hands in her resignation. The city’s charter lays out guidelines for what happens when there’s a vacancy.
“Vacancies in Council shall be filled by appointment of a qualified person,” the charter states. “The appointment shall be made by a majority vote of Council members.”
According to the charter, if council fails to fill the vacancy within 30 days, the President of Council will need to make an appointment within 15 days. These decisions would be made during public meeting, according to Law Director Tim Aslaner.
Aslaner said he hasn’t discussed the matter with Richardson yet. He joked it’s likely Richardson didn’t want to tempt fate.
“You don’t want to count your chickens before they hatch,” Aslaner said.
The new member would keep the seat until the next regular city election. At that point, the appointee would be free to run during the next election for his or her spot.
While officials haven’t spoken with Richardson, Aslaner and Rausch have discussed what the next course of action could be.
“We kind of know what the procedure is,” Aslaner said. “We’ve got to know when her last day is.”
Rausch mirrored those statements.
“She will need to pick a date she’s going to resign,” Rausch said. “Once that date is here, we’ll send out notifications that there’s a (seat available).”
Once Richardson resigns, Rausch said officials will use “typical places that we would post.” The city will likely buy ads in the Journal-Tribune, post online and rely on word-of-mouth to find candidates.
Rausch said he’s had private conversations with residents interested in the position. He said some of those residents are people who attend council meetings regularly.
Rausch said once a new person joins council, there’s a process to get them up to speed. He said there’s a manual officials have made outlining rules and procedure. New members also meet with city department heads to make them knowledgeable on finances and projects around Marysville.
The new member will also tour facilities like the wastewater plant and the streets department garage.
He also said the first few months of next year will be a good period to ease a new member into the role, since there won’t likely be many big-ticket items.
Rausch said in the meantime, he’d prefer Richardson staying through November. He said council will likely wrap up the city’s budget and a new strategic plan this month, and he’d like a seven-member council to vote on those items.
Rausch also reiterated that much of what comes next is up to Richardson. He said it’s entirely possible Richardson will choose to stay on council until Jan. 1 of next year.
“A lot of it’s really up to her,” Rausch said.
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