Fairfield Council to name new member Monday to replace the late D’Epifanio

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Four residents were picked to be interviewed as a potential successor for the late Ron D’Epifanio.

Fairfield City Council has until later this month to make a decision, but it’s expected a decision will be made following the interviews planned that were planned to start Saturday morning. D’Epifanio died on Jan. 21 following a brief illness and was laid to rest on Jan. 29. He was 78.

“It’s not something we want to do but something we have to do,” said Councilman Dale Paullus, who’s leading the interview process.

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There were 11 city residents who sent in resumes, but only four were chosen to be interviewed. Paullus said those four — Kevin Corey, Matthew Davidson, Mark Scharringhausen and Mark Wilhelm — were chosen, among other reasons, on their experience and background.

Corey is a retired Lincoln Heights police chief, and works at the Talbert House and is the founder/CEO of Exit to Success Group Home. Davidson is a Butler County attorney and Fairfield Civil Service Commission member. Scharringhausen is a former Fairfield City Council member and retiree from GE Aviation. Wilhelm works as a manager at Zenith Logistics/Kroger Distribution.

Council is also looking for someone who would be interested in running for election in nearly two years. This open seat, as well as the other two at-large seats and the mayor’s position, will be up for election in November 2021.

Mayor Steve Miller, who was a mentee of D’Epifanio, called this “a really tough process” but a necessary one.

“Everybody misses Ron,” he said. “He was a great guy, great council member, but as I’ve said before, we’ve more than grieved and it’s time to get on with the business of the city and Council will have to find a replacement.”

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Miller said it will not be an easy decision based on the pool of finalists, “but I am confident they will do their due diligence and make the right decision so we have the right replacement for Ron.”

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 a council member who resigned from office due to a move out of the First Ward.

D’Epifanio, a 40-plus-year Fairfield resident, was first elected to the council in 1995 to represent the city’s Third Ward and re-elected four years later. He was elected mayor in 2005 and 2009. He returned to a City Council seat in 2017.

Council will announce its decision on Monday before the evening’s City Council meeting. Whoever is selected will be sworn into office Monday.

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