Fairfield begins process to search for late councilman’s successor

Fairfield City Council are asking residents interested to serving on the city’s governing board to send resumes over the next two weeks. Council has until next month to fill the late Fairfield City Councilman Ron D’Epifanio’s seat. He died on Jan. 21, 2020. He was 78. FILE
Fairfield City Council are asking residents interested to serving on the city’s governing board to send resumes over the next two weeks. Council has until next month to fill the late Fairfield City Councilman Ron D’Epifanio’s seat. He died on Jan. 21, 2020. He was 78. FILE

Fairfield City Council will have until late March to pick a successor for the late Ron D’Epifanio, but Mayor Steve Miller doesn’t think it will take that long.

“Ron was a really close friend, he was like a second father,” Miller said. “We’ve mourned and we’ve grieved and it’s time to move forward.”

City Council will accept resumes for two weeks from any resident who wishes to serve on Fairfield’s governing board. D’Epifanio died after a brief illness on Jan. 21 at Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital. He was 78.

PHOTOS: Remembering Fairfield councilman, former mayor Ron D’Epifanio

“It’s going to be tough to replace him,” said Councilman Dale Paullus, whose council committee will lead the process. “Ron’s been around a long time and he’s had such a large impact.”

It’s not yet determined if everyone who sends in a resume will be interviewed, according to the council.

Paullus said there’s been a couple of people who are interested, but no one has lobbied for the spot.

“We’ll wait and see what we get back from the people who are interested,” he said of potential candidates. “It’s not something we look forward to.”

D’Epifanio is the second council member to die while in office since April 2016 when the late former First Ward Fairfield Councilman Bob Myron died. He served on Council for about a year taking the place of former Councilman Adam Jones who resigned because he moved within the city but out of the First Ward. D’Epifanio was serving as an at-large councilmember.

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“It was tough when Bob passed away, he was a great guy, but Ron’s a different case,” said Miller. “And it will be hard to have a replacement because it’s Ron’s chair.”

D’Epifanio had a long service on City Council.

D'Epifanio was born in Columbus and moved to Fairfield in 1976, and had been a resident of the city for more than 40 years. D'Epifanio won a contested election in 1995 to represent the city's Third Ward, and won re-election four years later. He was out of office for two years due to term limits but ran for mayor in 2005. D'Epifanio won the election by five votes over the late Howard Dirksen after a recount.

The former mayor was a champion for the Fairfield community, including his faithful support of the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Field. As mayor, he made a point to honor and recognize current and former residents who served in the military. D’Epifanio served in the Marine Corps.

Fairfield City Council, according to the city charter, is tasked with replacing any of its members no matter how many years are left on a term. There are less than two years remaining on D’Epifanio’s term.

The mayor has no role in the selection process, unless there’s a tie or Council cannot come to a decision in 60 days.

Miller doesn’t think it will take 60 days.

“I think Council will do their due diligence,” he said. “We’ll definitely keep an open mind.”

MORE: ‘In a world of takers, Ron D’Epifanio was a giver’: Fairfield city councilman honored at funeral

Interested residents should send resumes Clerk of Council Alisha Wilson either by email at awilson@fairfieldoh.gov or sent to the Fairfield Municipal Building, 5350 Pleasant Ave., Fairfield, Ohio 45014.