City Council candidates sought for vacant seat
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON – Following Steven Rzeppa’s public, second mayoral swearing in, held during the Dec. 9 City Council meeting, a study session was announced to discuss applicants for the vacant council seat.
Rzeppa said Dec. 9 that it had been a tough 10 days, since the late Mayor Kyle Stack’s death, a situation for which he said one can never be fully prepared.
“Certainly, there is no handbook to flip through, to figure out how to navigate this,” Rzeppa said. “We have to do what we can, here, to honor Mayor Stack and her legacy, but also forge a path forward here, for our community, together.”
Rzeppa praised the team of elected officials, department heads and city employees, whom he said keep the city running.
He said that, unlike Stack, he will not be at city hall four or five days a week.
Rzeppa is the political and communications director for Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He said he travels around the state quite a bit as part of his job with AFSCME.
“I do work outside of this, but that doesn’t mean that I am going to show any less commitment to our community,” Rzeppa said at the meeting. “I am incredibly confident in all the people that we have around us, not only as employees and department heads, but all the people around this table, that are the ones that really help steer the ship and keep the trains running on time.”
Rzeppa said he will serve the remainder of the mayor’s term, which is four years. However, the city charter language was written when the mayoral term was only two years. He said the city’s legal counsel is researching county and state law to see if there are any changes which would supersede the city’s charter language.
Rzeppa requested a study session following the Dec. 16 council meeting to discuss the vacancy created by him becoming mayor.
He said City Clerk Debra Devitt has created an application process for residents wishing to submit a letter of interest for the position, with a 5 p.m. Dec. 16 deadline.
“The study session would be a good opportunity for us to review these applications and talk about what steps we need to take next,” Rzeppa said.
Rzeppa said the vacant seat needs to be filled by the second meeting in January, which is Jan. 27, since Jan. 20 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The city charter indicates that city council vacancies occurring more than 120 days before the next regular city election shall be filled on or before the third regular council meeting following the occurrence of the vacancy, by a majority vote of the remaining members of the council. The appointee will hold the office until the Monday following the election during which the vacancy can be filled, for the balance of the original unexpired term.
Applicants must be 18 years old, have lived in the city for at least two years prior to the appointment and not be in default to the city.
For more information, contact the city clerk’s office at 734-675-8600, or go to Trenton City Hall, 2800 Third St.
For an application and more information, go to trentonmi.org.