The general election will leave a temporary vacancy on Pickerington City Council that ultimately will be filled with a citywide vote next fall.

Pickerington City Council President Jeff Fix was elected Nov. 6 to a seat on the Fairfield County Board of Commissioners.

According to unofficial results from the Fairfield County Board of Elections, Fix, a Republican, defeated Democrat Leah Hackleman-Good by a count of 35,280 (62.5 percent) to 21,140 (37.5). Those results still must be certified by the board of elections, but Fix said last week he plans to continue to serve on city council until the end of the year.

"I will officially become part of the Commissioners' Office on Jan. 1st," Fix said.

Fix was elected to council for the first time in 2005, and was re-elected in 2009, 2013 and 2017.

Because he will leave office before July 1 of the second year of his four-year council term, Pickerington voters will get to decide who gets to serve the final two years of the term with a vote in the November 2019 general election.

In the meantime, a temporary replacement will be selected either by the remaining six council members or by Mayor Lee Gray.

By city charter, council will have the first shot to choose Fix's replacement.

After Fix officially leaves council Jan. 1, the remaining members will have 60 days to appoint someone to fill his seat.

"Council has 60 days," said council Vice President Mike Sabatino. "If they don't do it within 60 days, the mayor has the prerogative to name who he wants."

Council last went through the appointment process in February, following former councilwoman Melissa Wilde's election to the Violet Township board of trustees in November 2017.

After Wilde took office as a township trustee in January, nine Pickerington residents applied to be appointed to her seat on council.

However, council's 60-day period for making the appointment expired without a replacement being named.

Ultimately, Gray appointed Crystal Hicks to the seat in June. She was not among the nine people who had applied for the post.

Because Wilde left office after July 1 of the second year of her four-year term on Council, city charter stipulated that Hicks could serve out the remainder of Wilde's term.

Sabatino said council could revisit the list of applicants for Wilde's position to find a replacement for Fix.

But he noted Council's Rules Committee could call for more candidates.

"Typically, the Rules Committee will deal with that at a meeting and (committee members will) decide if they want to take more applications," Sabatino said.

"If they do, they'll put a date out for candidates to reply by."

Sabatino said the Rules Committee could choose to interview candidates and make an appointment recommendation to council.

The full council would vote on the Rules Committee recommendation, which could finalize an appointment, but the mayor also has the right to veto that selection.

Sabatino noted that as of Nov. 8 -- two days after Fix's election victory and before the board of elections had certified the vote -- no decisions had been made as to how council will proceed.

"There haven't been any discussions about it yet," Sabatino said.

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