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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 , but has applied again for the vacant seat on Cleveland Heights City Council.

She and 11 others submitted applications . 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 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.

, and , who ran for Cleveland Heights City Council in November 2011 and when former council member , 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 had just . Evans, Vice Mayor Dennis Wilcox and Councilwoman Mary Dunbar . Coryell lost by .  

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.

John H. August 07, 2012 at 09:00 PM
This entire retire/rehire system is odd and unsettling, at the very least. I'm not sure the community will be comfortable with that.
Carla August 08, 2012 at 12:23 AM
At age 67, Phyllis Evans is eligible for Medicare, which most of us are very happy to get. I don't see why her medical insurance should be an issue. If she would 57, it could be an issue, but not at 67.
Kristen Fragassi August 08, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I agree this is unsettling. Her retire/rehire has taken energy and resources from our city which has many more pressing issues. I wonder what specifically she feels she can accomplish as a member of council that she can't do as a private citizen? She could stay retired and mentor some new blood, right?
Bonnie Dolezal August 08, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Phylis Evans should not be allowed to return to council. She has retired and has served more than enough years. It is way past time for new ideas and people to serve on CH council. These jobs should not be "careers" but temporary positions. I think we should have term limits with a one time opportunity to serve. There are way too many on council that have made careers out of this. There a many qualified people in this city that should be given an opportunity to serve.
Michelle Moling Ware August 08, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Evans should not be considered for this seat. She "retired" abruptly, only a few short months after being reelected. She would have known during the election that she would be retiring from her job, and this insurance issue would have been known then. She took advantage of the voter and the city through this situation. Shame on her for applying for the seat.
Patricia Butts August 09, 2012 at 12:26 AM
This is right. Evans is eligible for Medicare and as a retiree of UH or CWRU she is eligible to purchase supplementary health care at the same level that she had as an active employee but at a reduced price because of Medicare. This is what everyone else does if they choose to stay with the university plan. The Cleveland Heights City Council was not her day job and she shouldn't even be eligible for Ohio Public Employees Health Insurance. This was a weak excuse for resigning from Council and she should not be considered for reinstatement.

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