Westerville attorney Jenifer French will be sworn in as the newest member of Westerville City Council on Feb. 1.

Westerville attorney Jenifer French will be sworn in as the newest member of Westerville City Council on Feb. 1.

French was selected unanimously by council's remaining six members Jan. 18 to fill the unexpired term of Anne Gonzales, who resigned Dec. 31 after nine years on council to be sworn in as representative for Ohio's 19th House District.

French was one of 13 residents to apply and be interviewed to fill Gonzales' term, which ends Nov. 30, 2013.

In her application for the seat, French said the city must focus on attracting and retaining businesses, as well as on retaining residents by marketing Westerville's services and amenities.

French has lived in Westerville for four years. She previously served as a member of the city's Recreation Advisory Board. She has been active in community events and with Westerville City Schools.

French is married and has two children.

Also at the Jan. 18 meeting, council approved a resolution recognizing Gonzales for her nine years of service. After unanimously approving the resolution, members of council presented Gonzales with a pen holder and a Westerville flag, which she said she will hang in her new office at the Ohio Statehouse.

Council chairman Mike Heyeck praised Gonzales for her work on council.

"If we could find someone as good as you, that would be a success story," he said.

Gonzales thanked the other members of council and the city staff for helping her do her job well in Westerville.

"Message to residents: This group here (council) is absolutely amazing," she said.

Gonzales said council is responsible for making tough decisions, but ultimately, members try to make the best decisions for residents. She said she is thankful for the nine years she was able to serve on council.

"It's just a feel-good process to help people out," she said.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com

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