An Alternate Plan for Council

A local blogger is suggesting an alternative to Cincinnati City Council for handling appointments to the group that he says is simpler and cheaper than a plan proposed by a councilwoman.—-

This week’s issue of CityBeat features a cover story about City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz’ proposal for a charter amendment that would change how council vacancies are filled. Under the switch, a special election would be held in even-numbered years to allow voters to select a replacement. In odd-numbered years, the seat would remain vacant until that fall’s regularly scheduled council election.

If approved by voters, the proposed change would end the practice of letting other council members and political party leaders decide who fills vacancies, and might encourage members to complete their terms, Ghiz says.

Jason Haap, the blogger known as “the Dean of Cincinnati” and who operates The Cincinnati Beacon Web site, wrote an e-mail Wednesday to Ghiz about his own plan. Haap proposes allowing appointments to council, but prohibiting that person from running for election in the next election cycle.

Such a process would avoid giving the appointee the power of incumbency and would prevent the possibility of council stalemates in votes during an even-numbered year.

The deadline for a charter amendment for the May ballot is March 6; the deadline for the November ballot is in August.