XENIA — Xenia City Council will likely have vacancy to fill in January and several residents urged council to appoint the third-leading vote-getter from the Nov. 7 election — Billie Carrico.
The vacancy will be created when current council member Sarah Mays slides over two chairs to become mayor, replacing Marsha Bayless, who did not seek re-election. The city charter tasks the remaining council members to appoint someone via majority vote once the vacancy occurs.
Carrico and three others think it should be her because she finished third last week when two seats were available. Levi Dean received 2,238 votes, incumbent Wes Smith 1,471, and Carrico 1,176.
“I am just here tonight to ask for consideration for January when Sarah moves into the mayor spot,” Carrico told council during the public comments portion of the meeting Nov. 9. “I’m asking for consideration for the open seat versus another candidate that may not have ran, may not have put in the time and effort that I have and didn’t get the votes that I received. I feel that I can be an asset. If we work together we can get a lot of things done.”
Edward Council III, who finished fifth with 417 votes, said councilmembers could be removed from office if they don’t appoint Carrico.
“She could be in a position to make a lot of things unpleasant for some of the council members that vote against her,” he said. “Just think about it. She has enough votes right now, that she can count on, to put every one of you guys back on a recall. “… all she needs to get is 15 percent of the voters from the last election to sign a petition to come out for each and every one of you to be recalled at the next available election time. “
Ohio Revised Code 705.92 spells out the procedure for a recall election, which would including removing one elected official and immediately electing another.
“She could do it. She couldn’t, who knows,” Council said. “It puts no matter who’s elected … they could be subject to being recalled if you vote against somebody, given she had 17 percent of the vote. She only has to get 15 to sign the petition. I just wanted to let you guys think about it.”
Former councilmember John Caupp said the city council should take the voters’ wishes into consideration.
“We had three clear-cut candidates that had considerably more votes than the remaining four candidates,” he said. “I believe the voters of Xenia should have a say in who represents them on council. Billie Carrico ran a good campaign. It takes a lot to put your name on a ballot. A lot of people want to be appointed. You always get 10-15 people that want to be appointed that never put their name on a ballot. It’s a lot of work to run a campaign and all you guys know that. It would be nice to see you just make the process pretty streamlined and pretty easy and appoint Billie Carrico to that seat for the next two years.”
Rod Degenkolb said the decision should have been made prior to the election that the third-place candidate would be appointed.
“This should have been dealt with before anybody’s personality, anybody’s politics came into play,” he said. “It’s turned into a political football. It’s a real game because people are really watching. They’re anxious about this. The logical choice is to make her the choice and not play the politics game because that’s the perception that will happen. No threats, no nothing. She needs to be appointed.”
Council president Mike Engle said there is no provision or mandate in the either the ORC or the city charter that requires them to appoint a candidate from the last election, and “as has been done in the past” asked anyone interested in being appointed to submit a detailed resume and cover letter to the council clerk by Dec. 8 for consideration.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.