A financial adviser who worked on the unsuccessful campaign to increase the city's income tax to fund road improvements last year will join Delaware City Council.
Council on May 15 voted 4-2 to select Jim Browning as the panel's new representative of the 3rd Ward. The seat opened in March when longtime Councilman Joe DiGenova died.
Council selected Browning after interviewing six residents who applied to fill the position. Delaware Planning Commission member George Mantzoros received votes from Mayor Carolyn Riggle and Councilwoman Lisa Keller in the second and final round of voting.
Browning, 49, will serve on council until at least November, when city voters will choose who serves out the remainder of DiGenova's term through November 2019. Browning told council he intends to run in the fall.
Browning said he wanted to join council to do what's best for his fellow residents.
"I don't have an agenda," he said. "I guess my agenda would be to help the city of Delaware get better and its citizens get better."
Browning said he does hope to find new ways to get residents involved with city governments, such as well-publicized question-and-answer sessions. He said he supports "taking (government) to the folks so they can ask questions."
Browning and his wife, Jayna, reside in Delaware's 3rd ward -- comprising the city's south side -- with their two children, Ian, 12, and Liam, 10.
He served as co-chairman last year of Better Roads for Delaware, a political action committee that supported the city's request to increase the income-tax rate by 0.15 percentage points.
Voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposal last fall.
Browning said he does not think his role in the campaign was the main reason council selected him.
"I think it helped me be familiar with the people (in city government). That's it," he said.
Browning said it's an honor to succeed DiGenova, who was Delaware's longest-serving councilman at the time of his death.
"You kind of go: This is his seat. This is his term," he said. "It takes a level of accountability and respect."
Vice Mayor Kent Shafer said Browning came out on top in a competition among six qualified candidates.
"I was really impressed," he said. "We had six candidates and I would have been happy to sit with any of (them) on council."
Riggle said she encourages all of the applicants to run in November to "let the citizens decide" who fills the seat in the long term.