Columbus City Council to hold hearing on new council member

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday for the finalists for a new council member, with a vote on the replacement set for next week.

The hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3, at council’s chambers in city hall, 90 West Broad St., and will allow the finalists to speak if they wish. It will also allow the public to offer its thoughts on the candidates. Council will then convene a private executive session to discuss the candidates and the public testimony.

At the council’s next meeting on Jan. 9, council members will nominate and vote on the new member, who will replace President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown, who left the council to become president of YWCA Columbus. Brown started her new position on Monday.

The eight finalists are:

  • Charity Martin-King, who works as the director of social change within Ohio State University’s Office of Student life.
  • Densil Porteous, the current executive director and chief executive officer of LGBTQ organization Stonewall Columbus.
  • Eli Bohnert, a campaign manager for Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) who also serves on the community advisory committee for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and as a commissioner on the West Scioto Area Commission.
  • Ilhan Dahir, who works in public policy, currently as a researcher for the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington D.C.
  • Kelly Lombardo-Matthews, a longtime teacher and Italian program director who now works as the digital marketing manager at LifeCare Alliance.
  • Lucy Gettman, who has worked in federal and state government in a variety of roles and has also taught classes at American University and Ohio State University.
  • Mitchell J. Brown, a former council member who has also served as the city’s director of public safety and the state’s lottery commission.
  • Olubunmi Adekanbi, a program manager for an adoption agency in Toledo who has previously worked with foster and adoption programs as well as other youth organizations.

Initially, 27 people filed to fill the vacancy.

The new member will be the fifth of the seven current members who got their start on the council by appointment, at least through the November 2023 election.

Council will also add two new members in 2023 when the election for members switches from at-large to districts. Columbus residents will still vote for all members of the body, but council members will be required to live in the district they represent.

Columbus residents who wish to submit written testimony via email can do so by 12 p.m. Tuesday by clicking here and must include “Speaking at Vacancy Public Hearing” in the subject line.

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