Bexley News

Bexley City Council

Decision preserves January swearing-in of new members

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Bexley City Council opted to close out the year with only six of seven members following the retirement of council president Rick Weber on Nov. 19.

To fill Weber's role, council members voted unanimously to elect Matt Lampke as president, but only to fill the role for council's last two meetings of 2013, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. Like Weber, Lampke opted not to run for re-election to council this year; he will leave at the end of the year.

Lampke suggested that council member-elect Lori Ann Feibel be appointed to fill the seventh council seat for the remainder of 2013.

Since Feibel received the most votes in the Nov. 5 election, Lampke suggested she could start her term early in case the need for a special council meeting arose and other council members weren't able to attend.

"I know there's vacations coming up," he said. "People may even be absent from the last council meeting here."

Councilman Mark Masser, who said he was going to miss the last meeting of the year because of a previously scheduled commitment, said he didn't think it was necessary to appoint a seventh council member less than a month before Feibel and the second council member-elect, Deneese Owen, are officially scheduled to begin their terms.

"We can, and we have in the past, done well with just (six) members," Masser said.

Councilman Richard Sharp noted that appointing Feibel or Owen could place an undue burden on them since they may have not been prepared for an early start.

"An appointed elected official has to file (financial disclosure forms with the Ohio Ethics Commission) within 15 days of appointment, as opposed to the normal course in April," Sharp said. "That can be somewhat difficult at the end of the year, as opposed to later when people have tax returns done."

Council members Tim Madison, Steve Keyes and Anne Lewis said they agreed that council could function temporarily with six members, especially since they approved the city's 2014 budget in November.

Lewis said Feibel and Owen deserve to have a ceremonial swearing-in on Jan. 6.

"I think there's something ceremonial about starting and being sworn in after the first of the year," Lewis said. "I would love to keep that moment of ceremony special."