New Carlisle will host a May special election to fill a council seat that’s been empty for almost six months and one candidate has already announced her intentions to run.
Becky Mckenzie, who applied for the seat when it first became open, said she wants to be a voice for part of New Carlisle that she believes is under-represented.
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“I want to run for city council because I want to build off our successes from the past few years. We are at a point in time where we’re finally able to prepare for the future of New Carlisle and I want to make sure the perspective of working-class families are taken into account,” she said.
Amy Hopkins, who also applied for the seat, told the Springfield News-Sun that she is still deciding whether she is going to run.
“If I run it is because I love New Carlisle; I raised my family here, I sold property here, and I want to see New Carlisle be successful,” Hopkins said. “I believe I have the leadership skills to continue to move New Carlisle in a positive direction.”
Kathy Wright, the final person who applied, said she does not plan on running for the seat.
All three applied in July when former member Aaron Leighty was forced to resign after moving out of the city. However, the council failed to select a member, prompting the election.
Any New Carlisle adult is allowed to run for the office — even if they didn’t apply last year. The resident must collect 50 valid signatures and turn them into the Clark County Election Board Office by Feb. 6, mayor Ethan Reynolds said.
The New Carlisle City Council approved a May 7 election last week during a regular council meeting.
“It’s a relief to finally have the election set,” Reynolds said. “To get the ball moving. The voters of new Carlisle deserve the seat to be filled. It is the first time in at least the 20 years that council wasn’t able to fill the seat themselves.”
City council originally attempted to fill Leighty’s position themselves by taking applications.
The six remaining council members then tried to select a new member on Aug. 23, but ended up deadlocked between Hopkins and McKenzie. Reynolds then had an opportunity to call a special meeting Aug. 29 and planned to appoint his choice — Hopkins, he said.
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But before he was able to do so, it was pointed out by a resident who attended the meeting that the legal ad distributed to a newspaper wasn’t clear what the meeting was for.
Because it was unclear if the meeting was legal, Reynolds decided not to appoint Hopkins. He then attempted to hold an emergency meeting Aug. 30 in another attempt to appoint Hopkins.
New Carlisle Council members Ronald Cobb, Bill Cook and Mike Lowery couldn’t attend the Aug. 30 meeting — each saying they had prior engagements. Because the members didn’t attend, the council didn’t have a quorum and Reynolds couldn’t make an appointment. The last day the mayor could appoint someone to the council before his time designated by the city charter ran out was on Aug. 30.
Reynolds said he had hoped the council would have found a way to fill it, but noted that counsel had differing opinions.
“This council doesn’t have a bunch of ‘yes men,’” Reynolds said.
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