When New Carlisle voters go to the polls Tuesday, they will end a political odyssey where a council seat has been empty since July.
Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and will close at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Early voting is underway and ends at 2 p.m. Monday.
The Springfield News-Sun will have all the results Tuesday night at SpringfieldNewsSun.com.
The race between Amy Hopkins and Becky McKenzie is the only election in Clark County.
Both candidates have deep roots in the community and both say they are the best person for the job.
“I have lived in New Carlisle for over 40 years and I would like to give back to the community,” Hopkins said. “I have participated in community activities such as the Heritage of Flight Festival, the New Carlisle Pool, the Tree Lighting Festival and other community activities.”
McKenzie said she has been active in city government before deciding to run for council. She graduated from Tecumseh High School in 2001.
“I have been attending (New Carlisle) council meetings regularly for a little over 3 years,” McKenzie said. “I have been a member of the Parks and Rec Committee since 2017.”
The seat the two are running for became open when Aaron Leighty resigned after moving out of the city.
The city council first attempted to fill Leighty’s position themselves by taking applications and conducting interviews. However, that attempt quickly became contentious.
The council members then tried to select a new member on Aug. 23, but ended up deadlocked between Hopkins and McKenzie. New Carlisle Mayor Ethan Reynolds then had an opportunity to call a special meeting on Aug. 29 and planned to appoint his choice - Hopkins, he said.
But, before he was able to do so, it was pointed out by a resident who attended the meeting that the legal advertisement announcing the meeting that was distributed in a local newspaper wasn’t clear about the purpose of the meeting. Because it was unclear if the meeting was legal, Reynolds decided not to appoint Hopkins then.
He attempted to hold an emergency meeting on Aug. 30 — the last day he was eligible to appoint someone to the council. But, New Carlisle Council members Ronald Cobb, Bill Cook and Mike Lowery could not attend that meeting - each saying they had prior engagements. The three men had originally voted to add McKenzie to the council.
Because the members did not attend, the council did not have a quorum and Reynolds could not make an appointment. The mayor was then out of time and unable to make his selection.
Both candidates said they believe the conflict among city councilmembers is bad for the community overall. They say they want to change the culture.
“I think some members of council want attention and political points and I think it’s important to keep the attention on our city and our citizens,” McKenzie said. “I also think it’s important to keep our fellow council members accountable while putting forth a professional demeanor and work together while representing different groups of citizens. That’s the beauty of our city council; they are elected to represent all people of New Carlisle, not just a select few.”
“There are many things that have been accomplished the last few years and some people dwell on personality issues,” Hopkins said. “If I was on council, I would focus on the important issues that benefit the citizens like fixing roads, keeping emergency services running smoothly instead of spending time and resources on personality conflicts that doesn’t benefit anyone. I want to be a voice of the people.”
Whoever wins the council election will serve until the end of 2021.
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