City won’t vote on council seat until 2001

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 25, 2000

Voters heading to the polls Nov.

Friday, August 25, 2000

Voters heading to the polls Nov. 7 won’t get the chance to decide on a candidate to fill the vacancy left by former Councilman Joe Black after all.

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There will be no city council race during the General Election after Board of Election officials discovered late Thursday that the city’s charter conflicts with a recent amendment to the Ohio Constitution.

"The amendment states that a municipal election can only be held in odd years," said Mary (Sis) Wipert, director of the Board of Elections. "The city charter states that whenever a vacancy occurs on council, council may appoint an individual to fill the unexpired term until the next General Election. This particular aspect of the city charter is in violation of the state’s constitution."

The amendment took effect while Taft was secretary of state, she added.

She said that while the city charter can supersede state law, it cannot take precedence over the constitution.

"In this particular case, the constitution supersedes the city’s charter," Mrs. Wipert said.

Black was elected last November for a four-year term and resigned in May for personal reasons. Councilman Richard Price was appointed in June to fill the vacancy by council and will hold the seat for another year.

"Because of the amendment, there can’t be a city council election this year," Mrs. Wipert said. "Mr. (Richard) Price will serve until Nov. 30, 2001."

In addition to Price, Bob Isaac, John Pauley, James Ridgeway, Larry Holtzapfel and J.D. Carey all had filed petitions to run for the vacancy during the General Election, Mrs. Wipert said.

"We will refund their money," she said. "We will be contacting them to reimburse their filing fees. We regret that this has happened, but we were relying on the city’s charter and we were unaware of the changes that had been made to the constitution. A vacancy on council is actually rare, so, we’ve not had a chance to become familiar with the constitution in this aspect."

Other additions to what voters may see on the ballots include an additional tax levy in Perry Township.

"Perry Township has filed a petition to add an additional one-mill tax levy for fire protection," Mrs. Wipert said. "It will not officially be on the ballot until the Board of Elections approves the petition and we anticipate that to be finalized on Friday."