The Northwest Civic Association board of trustees once again has a vacancy.

Although the members didn't know it, they were already one shy of the 15 mandated by the code of regulations when they last met Sept. 6.

The day before, former Vice President Kyle Hartman submitted a letter of resignation to President Nick Cipiti.

"After a great deal of thought, I have decided to step down from the Northwest Civic Association board of trustees," Hartman wrote, noting it would take effect the following day prior to the monthly session.

"With the board filled in, I feel that it is now time for me to make this move," Hartman wrote.

"As my boys get older, I will be devoting my energies to their activities and development."

"Losing Kyle is a big loss," Cipiti said last week. "He was a great board member and did an awful lot in the way of code enforcement. He will certainly be missed."

Membership on the board of trustees had dwindled to only six in the wake of the June 7 annual meeting when a rift became public, as then-President John Ehlers accused a faction of conspiring to replace him with Hartman.

"I don't see that other person as being qualified," Ehlers said without naming Hartman.

"The dissension is between John and me," Hartman later said. "I'm the one who is creating questions about some concerns among board members."

Neither Ehlers nor Hartman were returned to their offices following a vote taken at a June 28 special meeting.

Instead, Cipiti was voted in as president and Ruth Royal as vice president.

Nine new members, bringing the board to its full complement, were voted in at the Aug. 5 session, following a round of interviews with candidates who had expressed an interest in serving.

That same process will be used in finding a replacement for Hartman, according to Cipiti.

Applications will be accepted, interviews scheduled and the appointment made, the president said.

"I'm not sure exactly what the timeline is on that," Cipiti added.

"I don't have specific dates on it, but we are trying to move on as quickly as possible."

Although stepping down, Hartman wrote that he was hardly making himself scarce.

"While resigning from the board, I plan to remain an active and engaged member of the association by coming to meetings, watching headlines of activities and will still keep an open eye on the blight caused by code violations," according to the Sept. 5 letter.

"Over these past several months, I am proud of the change that we forced to happen," Hartman wrote.

"In the face of repression, we stood together, prevented a direction of false pretense at our annual meeting and most importantly, started a movement that yielded a group of engaged, new trustees ready to serve their community," he wrote.

"I trust, and implore you to ensure our efforts do not regress into the sad state in which they recently were. Be transparent with all dealings of the association.

"Do not allow information to be held as a means to subjugate others. Be the confident, visible, head cheerleader our association needs you to be," Hartman wrote.

"Restore positive relationships and our reputation with (Columbus) City Hall and with all of the city staff for which we depend on to be informed and a meaningful voice for our neighborhood."

Hartman closed by stating he might one day be willing to turn to a post on the panel.