Councilman to Resign, Wife to Take Seat

Cecil Thomas recommends Pam Thomas for replacement

click to enlarge Councilman Cecil Thomas
Councilman Cecil Thomas

Democratic Councilman Cecil Thomas’ last City Council meeting will be Wednesday, after which he will be replaced by his wife of 32 years, Pam Thomas.

“Her qualifications are impeccable,” Thomas told reporters Tuesday. “She will give this city a good representation.”

Thomas’ wife ran for Hamilton County clerk of courts last year, ultimately losing to Tracy Winkler. But Thomas said she won 70 percent of the vote in Cincinnati, making her an obviously strong contender as a local candidate.

Thomas’ recommendation has raised questions among critics about how council members are replaced upon resignation. Incumbents can only make recommendations to successor designees, who make the final decision, but as Councilman Wendell Young, one of Thomas’ designees, noted at the meeting, the designees typically give great weight to the incumbent’s recommendation.

When asked whether council members should have so much power in recommending appointees, Thomas said, “I just follow the rules.” He said if City Council wants to change the rules, it can.

Thomas said he will now run for the State Senate seat being left vacant by State Sen. Eric Kearney, who is term limited. He acknowledged the State Senate may be a more difficult place for Democrats, which are in the minority at the state level, but he said he hopes to “bridge divides” if he serves.

Until then, Thomas said he is looking forward to his time off, although he will miss having a role in local politics: “It's going to be tough to not be able to have that direct hands-on.”

Thomas said he wanted to step down earlier in the year, but he decided to stay in office to see if the city could avoid laying off cops and firefighters by balancing the fiscal year 2014 budget through the parking plan (

“Parking Stimulus,”

issue of Feb. 27), which Thomas strongly supports. With the parking plan

now in legal limbo

and

the layoffs going through

, Thomas is stepping down.
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