12 Apply For Council, Including Former Councilwoman Evans
Phyllis Evans, who resigned from Cleveland Heights City Council in May, has applied for the vacant seat.
Former Councilwoman Phyllis Evans resigned in May, but has applied again for the vacant seat on Cleveland Heights City Council.
She and 11 others submitted applications by the July 25 filing deadline. Mayor Ed Kelley said four others applied, but did not meet the deadline requirements.
Kelley said that council will likely interview three or four applicants by the end of the month, but there is no requirement for council members to appoint someone by a certain date.
“We’re under no time limit. We have lots of options to do what we want to do. That could be to open up the search again," Kelley said.
Kelley said that Evans will be considered, as will candidates not called in for interviews.
"But as I said ... I've never, in all my years of city experience, government, I've never seen any council member able to retire and then come back and continue with their medical," Kelley said.
Evans, 67, who served on council for nearly 20 years, said she resigned so she could collect benefits from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. She retired from her job at University Hospitals at the end of January and lost her health benefits.
Jeff Coryell, Mike Gaynier and Keba Sylla, who ran for Cleveland Heights City Council in November 2011 and applied to council when former council member Mark Tumeo resigned, are also among the applicants.
The person appointed will fill the seat until November 2013. They will then need to run for re-election to the position to serve until the term ends, Dec. 31, 2015.
Evans said in June that she was planning to apply after resigning.
"I feel that after having run in November, I deserve to be a member of council. So if there’s any way possible to represent my constituents, I will do that,” Evans said in an interview in June. “I want to thank residents for giving me the opportunity to serve as a member of council ... and if there is a way for me to be appointed, if there is a way that I can come back on council, I’m going to seek that.”
She's still not sure if she's eligible to keep her benefits and serve on council again, but she wanted to make sure she submitted her application by the deadline. She received a letter from OPERS and needs to seek legal advice to interpret the document first.
Law Director John Gibbon did not immediately return calls for comment.
Below is the full list of applicants:
- David Bergstein
- David Biel
- Jessica Cohen
- Jeff Coryell
- Daniel Cronin
- Pleurat Dreshaj
- Phyllis Evans
- Mike Gaynier
- Robert Koonce
- Keba Sylla
- Robert Taylor
- Gina Weisblat
Cleveland Heights Patch will continue to update this article as more information becomes available.