No process announced yet to appoint Evans' successor on CH City Council
Cleveland Heights City Council did not discuss Council Member Phyllis Evans' resignation at its June 11 work session and has not yet announced a process to select her replacement.
"We are going to let her work out her situation and then we can figure out next steps," Council Member Bonnie Caplan said in an e-mail.
Evans resigned June 4 citing a need to resign in order to use hospitalization benefits through the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS). She wanted to use the benefits that she earned for the 18 years she served on city council.
"I'm resigning because of personal reasons. It's relatively simple. I planned to use my benefits through the state and the interpretation was different than what I thought it was," Evans said.
This is the second time in two years that a council seat was vacated before the expiration of a term. In 2011, former Council Member Mark Tumeo left for a job out of state, and council selected Jason Stein from a pool of 18 applicants to fill the vacated seat. Stein’s appointment lasted until Dec. 31, 2011. Stein then successfully ran unopposed on the November 2011 ballot to fulfill the remainder of the term, which expires Dec. 31, 2013.
Prior to that, council had not made a midterm appointment since 1993, when Evans was selected to fulfill the unexpired term of former Council Member Barbara Boyd when she left for the statehouse.
Although council has not yet announced an application process, Mayor Ed Kelley said that he expected it would be similar to the one used in 2011. “Unlike other cities in Ohio, Cleveland Heights does not have a time limit for when we must appoint someone,” he said. The 2011 application asked potential council members to discuss special skills they have that would be valuable in serving on city council, along with their educational and employment backgrounds; recent community, professional, and charitable involvements; and their goals for the community.
It was unclear at press time, whether the appointment to fill Evans’ vacated seat would last until Dec. 31, 2012 or 2013. “This year is not a local election year,” said Mayor Kelley, “so we don’t yet know whether the appointee would have to run in November 2012 or November 2013 in order to serve the remaining portion of Evans’ vacated term.” Evans’ term expires Dec. 31, 2015.
Yelena Tischenko is a senior magazine journalism major at Kent State University and the Heights Observer summer editorial intern.