Columbus City Council last night held a public hearing on the 15 finalists for a vacant seat on the panel.
Thirteen of the finalists spoke about why they should replace Jaiza Page. who is now a Franklin County judge. Those include Columbus Civil Service Commissioner Stefanie Lynn Coe.
Finalist and Franklin University employee Chenelle Jones talked about opportunities for municipal improvement.
Council President Shannon Hardin says finalist Marco Miller did not speak due to an illness. And finalist and Columbus School board member Ramona Reyes did not speak because she is out of town. 37 people, mostly friends or colleagues of the finalists, signed up to speak. They included former council member Mary Jo Hudson, who just resigned from the Columbus school board. Hudson did not endorse Reyes, but instead spoke in favor of Rick Neal, who recently ran unsuccessfully for Congress.
South side resident Norwood "Buzz" Thomas touted the candidacy of Erin Synk of the South Side Area Commission.
And Columbus Firefighters Union vice president Steven Stein says his organization supports Miller, a former fire division official and former union president. That support is important, because in general, elected local officials rely on unions for votes and campaign support.
Council will vote Monday on an appointment. The other 14 finalists will also be considered to replace council member Mike Stinziano, who leaves in March to become Franklin County Auditor. The hearing was the first in a new appointment process approved by Columbus voters last year, which requires a public hearing. Both appointees will have to run for re-election this year.
The finalists are:
Nicholas Bankston, Mayor Ginther's director of community affairs
Lourdes Barroso De Padilla, director of the Latina Mentoring Academy
Stefanie Lynn Coe, Columbus Civil Service commissioner
Nancy Day-Achauer, United Methodist Church pastor and community activist
Rob Dorans, Columbus Recreation and Parks commissioner
Albert Edmonson, barbershop owner and community activist
Shayla Favor, Assistant City Attorney
Catherine Girves, executive director of Yay Bikes!
Chenelle Jones, Public Safety Programs chair at Franklin University
Marco Miller, former Columbus firefighters union president
Michelle Moskowitz Brown, executive director of Local Matters
Rick Neal, former Congressional candidate
Ramona Reyes, Columbus Board of Education member (she also applied to join council in 2014)
Sam Shim, Worthington School Board vice president and FCBank board member
Erin Synk, South Side Area Commission