An election it shall be -- and a special one, at that.

An election it shall be -- and a special one, at that.

Clintonville Area Commission members decided July 12 to return to a full complement of nine by holding a special election to fill the vacant District 8 seat, rather than make an appointment.

Longtime CAC member John DeFourny, who was chairman of the advisory panel at the time, resigned his District 8 post May 16.

Because DeFourny had more than a year left in his current term, CAC bylaws leave it up to the remaining members to choose between holding a special election or naming someone to serve until the next regular election cycle.

Jennifer Kangas of District 6 initially urged filling the vacancy by way of an appointment, and she was joined in that motion of District 2's Nancy Kuhel.

"Appointments happen all the time," Kangas said, noting two of the current members of Columbus City Council were named to vacant posts before going on to win election.

Appointments serve as a means of keeping bodies such as the CAC functioning, Kangas said, and are not in any way intended to be "robbing people of their democratic rights."

"It's only in Clintonville that this could be characterized as trying to disenfranchise people," she said.

Kangas referred to an unsigned postcard mailed to people in District 8 accusing her, Kuhel and District 3 representative James R. Blazer II -- who was absent from last week's session -- of desiring to do precisely that.

"It just kind of creeps me out," Kangas said, expressing amazement that someone would devote the time to distribute the postcards.

Kangas also said going the special election route would leave District 8 residents without representation until fall, whereas an appointment could take place as soon as next month.

"It has a lot of pragmatic value," Kangas said.

Kuhel, too, said she was mystified by the anonymous postcard. It only served to "get people riled up and enraged and distracted from what's really going on."

An appointed District 8 representative would be someone with obvious support from the residents and would be chosen only after being interviewed by the current CAC members, Kuhel said.

"It's not a random thing," she said.

Kuhel added she would abide by the wishes of district residents if they expressed a desire to have a special election.

They did.

Three of them present for the meeting spoke in favor of that approach to replace DeFourny.

"I think an election would have a calming effort and add to the credibility of the commission going forward," Sharon Avenue resident Joe Foley said.

The vote to hold a special election was 6-1, with only Kangas dissenting.

"It's my belief that, at the least ... if, in fact, the commission did call for a special election, then it would be advisable for the commission to move forward in appointing an election committee," new District 4 representative Dan Miller, who was elected chairman pro-tem for last week's meeting, said after the decision was made to delay choosing leaders and members of the other two standing committees.

Miller chose, and the others unanimously supported, former CAC member Sarah Snyder as chairwoman of the election committee. He said she has shown dedication to the CAC by her past service as a member and dedication to the community by volunteering for the most recent election.

"On top of that, she comes to the meetings already," Miller said.

The election committee will meet to schedule the election date for District 8 at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 23, at the Whetstone Recreation Center.