Karen Shanahan had a great post earlier this week calling for a statesman to be named to the open city council seat caused by Mark Sobczak's resignation.
I have to agree that the practice of naming a candidate to the position is not a good one and should be avoided.
As I said on Eye On Toledo this week, the city council is responsible to the public - the citizens of Toledo - not to the individual political parties who are (or plan on) endorsing a particular person. They should pick someone who is not interested in being a permanent replacement.
If they select a current candidate for council, they are, collectively, endorsing that candidate for a seat on council and putting the will of the respective political party ahead of the best interests of the public.
It will not serve the citizens of Toledo for members of council to play politics with the vacancy. All it will do is further divide the council (A Team, B Team, C Team, Republicans) along those political alignments and become a way for one grouping to 'win' over the others. The focus will be on the gamesmanship of the appointment, rather than on what is best for Toledo.
Had Rob Ludeman not announced his run for an at-large council seat, I would have suggested him because of his recent prior experience as well as his time as president of council. However, since he is a candidate, he's out of the picture.
But there are others, Republicans and Democrats alike, who could serve for a short period of time until the voters have decided who should take over. While some of these would not be my personal choice, they are individuals council should consider:
Donna Owens - R, former mayor and city council member
Sue Rioux - D, former Lucas County Recorder
Ellen Grachek - D, former District 5 council member
Joe Birmingham - R, former District 6 council member
Also, any former judge - and there are several who live in Toledo and could be appointed - or former elected official who is still in town could be named to the seat.
If council were to appointment such an individual, they would truly be doing the will of the people by allowing the voters to decide the makeup of council without any preferential treatment by the council members as a whole.
The question is, though, do they have the backbone to take such a stand? Or will politics being their overriding consideration?