Lebanon City Council is expected to nominate Breighton Smith to fill the vacancy that will be created on Dec. 31 when Vice Mayor Adam Mathews’ resignation becomes effective.
Mayor Mark Messer said Smith will be formally nominated at council’s Jan. 3 organizational meeting.
Smith, 36, said he first learned that council planned to tap him to replace Mathews after reading the Dayton Daily News Thursday morning, then Messer’s social media post before getting a phone call from the mayor.
“I was shocked,” Smith said. “I had heard from people who heard that could happen.”
Smith said he “hopes to serve the community well and make sure the principles and values of Lebanon are carried on by the city and council.” He also said he is happy with the current direction the city and council is going.
“I want Lebanon to continue to be Lebanon,” he said. “I have always wanted to help the community. I love Lebanon because its an amazing place to live, work and raise a family.
Smith unsuccessfully ran for the Lebanon Board of Education in 2021. He placed third in a six-candidate field for two open seats.
He has worked in Lebanon for the past six years as a staffer for the 2016 Trump Campaign and as a self-employed small business owner. In 2021, Smith said that work and involvement in Lebanon inspired him and his wife to purchase their first home here two years ago.
Last year, Smith applied and was appointed to a seat on the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals. Since then, elected and other officials have asked him about his future interests and willingness in serving the city in other roles, including as a council member.
“My answer was ‘yes,’ and I was open to helping the city in any way,” Smith said.
He said he has already started reaching out to his new future council colleagues and getting to know them and getting up to speed on city city issues so he can hit the ground running in January.
Mathews, who was elected as state representative for Ohio House District 56 in November, submitted his resignation Tuesday night. A ceremonial swearing-in as a state representative was held with his family during the council meeting.
Following Tuesday’s public session, Lebanon council members met in executive session to discuss how it would fill the vacancy.
Messer told the Dayton Daily News Wednesday that “City Council resolved to appoint from previously filed applications with one candidate being unanimously nominated.
“Our job in this situation is to bring to the board the most qualified people to serve the community in this capacity. Breighton Smith will fulfill the role exceptionally,” Messer said.
City Attorney Mark Yurick said council has 30 days from the effective date of a member’s resignation to select a new council member as long as the candidate meets the two-year residency requirement. Smith will complete the final three years of Mathews unexpired term.