Bexley City Council considers expanding citizen review board

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
Bexley City Hall

The Bexley Citizen Review Advisory Board will expand to include residents Tiffany Hunt and Glenn Soden, pending approval by City Council. 

Mayor Ben Kessler created the board with an executive order last June.  

The board is charged with reviewing complaints pertaining to unlawful discrimination or bias directed by city employees, including police officers, that are under appeal to the mayor. 

On Oct. 13, 2020, council voted 7-0 to approve the ordinance, which codifies the board and expanded its membership from three to five. If the resolution is approved, Hunt and Soden will join the members Kessler appointed last June: Bryan Drewry, Becky Guzman and Lee Nathans. 

Jen Robinson, chair of council’s Safety and Health Committee said she, Kessler and community member Manika Williams spent the last several weeks interviewing potential candidates for the board, including Drewry, Guzman and Nathans.  

“We made it a point to re-interview the candidates who served on the review board last summer under the mayor’s executive order,” Robinson said. “I’m 100% confident with this group of people.”  

Criteria for selecting candidates includes the diversity of life experiences and professional backgrounds that they bring to the board, Kessler said.  

“As with other boards, one of the things that I looked at and we talked about is how the board balances out with different perspectives, different backgrounds, different professional backgrounds, and felt that Glenn and Tiffany would be the right choice to provide for a balance,” he said.  

Hunt is a vice president with the Nationwide Insurance’s Business Transformation Office. She has served as a Franklin County Children Services board member.   

Soden is an attorney with McCarthy Legal Offices LLC and an adjunct professor at Ohio Dominican University. He previously served as a Bexley Historical Society board member and a volunteer with SCORE, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring to small businesses. 

Kessler said Drewry, Guzman and Nathans have served in various community service roles, in addition to completing the Bexley Citizen Police Academy, which familiarizes residents on how police interact with the community. Drewry, who is Black, is an officer with the Bexley Minority Parent Alliance, which provides support for minority students in the Bexley City Schools. Hunt also is Black. 

City Council President Lori Ann Feibel said Kessler’s administration discussed forming the citizen review advisory board before the nationwide protests that began in late May last year after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, during an arrest by Minneapolis police. 

“We are so excited to have this and to have these five really amazing individuals to be part of our progressive movement to make sure that everyone in our city and those that are welcomed into our city are treated fairly and with great equity,” Feibel said. 

Kessler said he plans to invite Hunt and Soden to address council at either the second or third readings the resolution, which are scheduled remotely Feb. 23 and March 9 at bexley.org.

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