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Columbus City Council Announces 13 Finalists To Fill Vacant Seat

Columbus City Council

Columbus City Council has selected 13 finalists to fill the vacancy opened when Council president Zach Klein leaves to become City Attorney on January 1.

Two years remain in Klein’s council term, so the other six council members are selecting someone to finish his term. After receiving 36 applications to fill the vacancy, council members have selected the following 13 people for further consideration:

  • Nancy Day-Achauer, a United Methodist Church pastor
  • Jasmine Ayres, a Yes We Can-endorsed candidate
  • Stefanie Lynn Coe, Associate General Counsel of MPW
  • Michael Dalton, a lobbyist for MetroHealth Systems
  • Rob Dorans, Legal Counsel for the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation of Ohio
  • Gregory Lee, a consultant for Accenture
  • Glenn Mueller, security manager for the City of Columbus
  • James Ragland, Ragland Enterprises president
  • Mike Rankin, a former deputy registrar for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
  • Emmanuel V. Remy, Northland Community Council president
  • Tiffany White, a litigation review representative at Progressive Insurance
  • Christopher L. Wyche, director of external affairs at AT&T
  • Joshua Zimmerman, a Jimmy Johns franchise owner.

City Council will meet January 4 and 5 to interview the finalists. Klein will not participate in the process.
On January 8, if a majority of council members vote to appoint a nominee, that person will be eligible to be sworn in under oath and take office. The council won’t meet January 15 in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so if someone is selected and sworn in January 8, he or she will become a new member of the council by the January 22 meeting.

All of the sitting council members are Democrats.

Columbus City Council has been criticized by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund that their election system have had a "racially discriminatory effect." In a letter after November's election, in which all three incumbent candidates won reelection, the organization argued the council's "at large" elections have weakened the voting strength of the city's black community.

Everyday People For Positive Change, a Columbus-based advocacy group, argued all of the black members of City Council were originally appointed to fill vacated seats instead of being voted in by the community. That group will submit another petition this coming year to reform the council's elections.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.