Thursday, March 30, 2000

Lebanon council must fill empty seat

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — As City Council members and residents absorbed the news Wednesday that Councilman Joe McKenzie had resigned, talk turned to possible replacements.

        Council must appoint someone within 30 days to fill the 11/2 years left on Mr. McKenzie's term. Mr. McKenzie himself was appointed to the seat in 1998 after Michael Coyan resigned.

        The most obvious possibilities are the two candidates who lost in last fall's election, former Councilman John McComb and political newcomer Jane Davenport. Former Deputy City Manager Ed Patterson also has been mentioned as a possible contender.

        Mr. McComb — under fire from Lebanon's historic preservationists for his plans to tear down one of the city's oldest homes — said Wednesday he's not considering seeking the seat. Mr. Patterson could not be reached for comment.

        Mrs. Davenport, who had to run as a write-in candidate last fall because of problems with her election petitions, said she's “very much interested” in being appointed.

        Mrs. Davenport, a former schoolteacher and travel agency owner, said she'd like to help the city get beyond recent controversies.

        “I'm very interested in Lebanon, not particularly the issues, but in keeping the way it used to be,” Mrs. Davenport said.

        She collected close to 80 signatures last month in support of City Manager James Patrick, who had come in for criticism from a couple of council members, including Mr. McKenzie.

        Mr. McKenzie announced his resignation, effective immediately, in a letter Tuesday to council. He could not be reached for comment.

        In the past couple of months, he had clashed with other members over the city-owned telecommunications system. He was in the minority in thinking the system is in serious trouble.


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