At a special Jan. 6 meeting, Bexley City Council swore in reelected incumbent Troy Markham and new members Matt Klingler, Jen Robinson and Jessica Saad.
Then they voted unanimously for Lori Ann Feibel to serve a second consecutive term as president.
Klingler is a project manager for Farber Corp., a construction firm. Saad is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Robinson is the director of Harmony KIDS, the youth arm of Columbus' Harmony Project, an organization that brings residents together to perform concerts and participate in community-service projects.
The remainder of council includes incumbents Monique Lampke and Richard Sharp. In the November election, incumbents Steve Keyes and Tim Madison did not seek reelection, and another incumbent, Mary Gottesman, was not successful in her reelection bid.
At the special meeting, Sharp nominated Markham to serve as president and pointed out that Markham, who first was elected to council in 2015, is the member with the most seniority who has not yet served as president.
Sharp said there is no formal process in the city's charter or in council rules for selecting the council president and gave an overview of how the president has been selected in the past.
"Prior to approximately 30 years ago, there was no informal process for the selection of council president, either," Sharp said. "He or she was elected based upon whatever personal criteria personal council members desired, and on a number of occasions, the same person served consecutive terms as president."
For the past 30 years, Sharp said, there has been an informal tradition of council members selecting as president the member who most recently served as finance committee chairman, the member who had won the most votes in the most recent election or the member with the most seniority who had not yet served as president.
Markham said although he hopes to assume the role of council president in the future, he would like to have more experience under his belt and nominated Feibel instead.
"I'd like to have time to consider my future presidency and plan it out in a comprehensive manner," Markham said. "While I feel confident that I can lead this body effectively and efficiently, I also feel that having added time to prepare will add considerably to the success of that term for City Council."
Markham said he thinks Feibel, who first was elected to council in 2013 and has served as president since January 2018, has skills and experience to lead council with three new members. Sharp seconded Markham's nomination of Feibel for president, with all members voting in favor.
"I am honored that this amazing group of individuals has given me their vote of confidence to help keep them organized and, thus, moving on a productive track that promotes our city's already progressive trajectory," Feibel said. "I expect that we will disagree, argue and often come out on different sides, but it will be my hope that we always be a model of respect.
"It is with great optimism that I look forward to working with this diverse group of individuals," Feibel said, noting that council's collective professional experience includes education, sales, accounting, the construction industry, the arts and the legal profession.
Council members' experience in Bexley spans from having lived there for just a few years to lifelong residents, Feibel said.
"Our unique talents will be very helpful for this community," she said.
Mayor Ben Kessler thanked Feibel for her leadership as council president over the past two years.
"I'm so glad to see you at the helm," he said, "as we move forward in a positive and new direction."