After the six sitting Pickerington City Council members couldn't reach a consensus about who should fill a vacated seat in the seven-member panel, the decision now falls into the hands of Mayor Lee Gray.

When Melissa Wilde was elected a Violet Township trustee in last November's general election, it meant she would have to give up her seat on City Council at the beginning of this year.

Per the city charter, the six remaining council members had 60 days to appoint Wilde's replacement, but they were unable to reach a consensus during a Feb. 16 Council rules committee meeting.

"Everyone we interviewed was a wonderful candidate," said Tony Romine, rules committee chairman.

"I can't speak highly enough about everyone who puts forth their name and their time to serve their community," he said.

"It's an honor to have citizens in the community who are willing to give their time to serve and benefit their community. The rules committee just could not really come forward with a consensus."

The decision now is up to Gray, who said he'll take his time.

"I don't have anybody yet," Gray said. "There's no restriction on the timeframe for me to make the appointment.

"I'm not in any hurry."

The nine who applied are:

* Joann Barnak.

* Chad Cram.

* Nicholas Derksen.

* Paula Gellert.

* William Reed.

* Jacklyn Rohaly.

* Douglas Triplett.

* Brian Wamsley.

* Lee Ann Whaley.

Gray said he's familiar with each candidate's backgrounds and will consider them as he weighs his decision.

He's also open to considering other hopefuls who might come forward by contacting him either personally or through the Mayor's Office.

Gray said he would discuss potential appointees with council members before finalizing the appointment.

"I'm going to wait for a little bit, talk to council members and see what's a good fit," Gray said. "There's no set standard."

This year will mark the second in a row there's been a council vacancy.

Last summer, 17 candidates lined up to replace Brandon Ogden, who resigned less than a month after pleading guilty to a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Upon announcing plans to step down last June, Ogden said the decision had "nothing to do with the case," but was because of his plans to move outside the city.

Council initially appointed M. Anthony Anderson to replace Ogden, but before the new member could take office he informed his colleagues a new professional obligation would preclude him from accepting the post.

Ultimately, former Councilwoman Tricia Sanders was appointed to Ogden's seat.

Those interested in being considered for the appointment can contact the mayor's office in Pickerington City Hall, 100 Lockville Road; send email to mayorgray@pickerington.net or call 614-837-3974.

"I'm kind of open to all avenues," Gray said.

"The main objective is to find the right person who's the right fit."

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