May 2, 2013

Replacing Kevin Fuller is next task

Mayor Art Ward has to pick a successor to city Councilor Kevin Fuller lickety split.
By May 15, he has to nominate another 1st District Democrat to fill the vacant council seat and get the City Council to endorse it.
Ward faces an interesting chore now.
There's a good argument that he should try to find someone who can hit the ground running, somebody who knows his or her way around City Hall and doesn't have to spend months getting up to speed on the issues.
The obvious choice, if he's willing, is former city Councilor Cliff Block, who lost a reelection bid in 2011 in part because he backed a raise for the mayor.
But it's not clear Ward would turn to Block, assuming the former councilor would take the job.
After Block, it becomes pretty hard to guess who the mayor might want. Ward himself held one of the 1st District seats from 1993 until 2007 so there aren't a lot of former Democratic councilors to pick, especially if you want somebody who's reasonably current on what's happening in municipal government.
Ward could also elevate one of the Democrats who are eyeing a council race in the district already, perhaps Dave Roche or Calvin Brown. I believe there are others vying for the party's nod as well.
Another issue that Ward has to consider is whether he can find a woman to fill the post. The rest of the council is all-male so there is a desire by many to see a woman replace Fuller.
Then there's one other factor the mayor has to keep in mind: whoever he picks has to be acceptable to the council. The all-Republican council has to endorse a Democrat, because the charter requires it, but it doesn't have to give a green light to any Democrat. Ward has to pick someone who's not going to pose a big issue for the GOP.
All in all, it's an interesting development. Anybody who wants to take a crack at it -- and is a Democrat in the 1st District -- should send Ward a resume right away.
There's never been an easier time to snatch a council seat without the headache and possible heartbreak of running for office.

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