Fairfield City Council to narrow list of candidates for vacated seat

Fairfield Municipal Building FILE

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Fairfield Municipal Building FILE

Nine residents of Fairfield’s Fourth Ward applied to succeed Tim Abbott, who resigned to relocate to Florida.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect Adam Kraft’s correct involvement with Sacred Heart Parish’s festival. His cover letter and resume listed differing roles.

Nine Fairfield residents want to represent the Fourth Ward on City Council, but fewer than half will be interviewed later this month for the job.

City Council planned to meet Monday night to narrow the field to a finalist list to be interviewed at the end of this month, said Councilmember Leslie Besl, chair of the community and public relations subcommittee. He said three to four candidates are likely to be interviewed, but it would be a council decision.

Tim Abbott resigned effective July 1 as the Fourth Ward City Council member and vice mayor. He is planning to move to Florida after his impending retirement at Duke Energy, where he currently serves as the utility’s Director of Government and Community Relations.

Abbot served 14-1/2 years over the past 16-1/2 years. At his second-to-last meeting in June, Abbott said serving the city had “been a true honor” from his first day.

“I’m sure that this new council will pick the right person for the job,” said Abbott, who will retire from Duke at the end of the month.

Whoever is chosen to succeed Abbott, who chaired the council’s finance subcommittee his entire tenure, said they need to keep an eye on the world economy as they consider decisions.

“In the big scheme of things, we’re a $30 million-plus general fund, nearly a $100 million operating fund. We’re a business,” he said. “Currently, we’ve got a lot of big projects being planned. Just make sure that you take a deep look at the finances and the world economics that are in play, and protect our taxpayers and make sure they’re getting a real value for the taxes that they’re paying today.”

Of the nine applicants, four call Fairfield their hometown, four have either volunteered or are currently volunteering with the city, three have a degree from Miami University and two from the University of Cincinnati, one was involved in starting two companies, one is an Air Force veteran, and one is fluent (speaking, reading, and writing) in three languages.

The nine people who applied include:

  • Keshab Acharya is a certified medical interpreter who is fluent in English, Nepali and Hindi. He has worked in the tax and insurance fields.
  • Dean Bruewer had been on the Fairfield Parks and Fairfield Food Pantry boards, and currently is a Fairfield paks ambassador.
  • Dona Canaan is on Fairfield’s Charter Review Committee. She has experience in the payroll and human resources fields.
  • Michael “Rob” Keller served in the Air Force from 2005 to 2011. He works for Hamilton manufacturer Salvagnini America.
  • Adam Kraft, a College of Mount St. Joseph graduate, earned a degree in nursing and later transitioned into sales. He is the chair of the Sacred Heart Parish Festival’s Bid and Basket Booth committee, and is on the board of directors with Give Back to Kenya.
  • Herbert Mineer was in the packaging supply distribution business for 15 years, and had been part owner of two start-up companies, and for the two decades, he worked in the transportation field. He is now retired.
  • Vivian Paul used to work for the city (from 2008 to 2013) as an assistant manager at the South Trace clubhouse. She is also a former Fairfield Parks Board member and currently volunteers with the city’s Environmental Commission.
  • Mark Pennington is active in his church, works for Mercy Health as a senior data analyst, a former employee in the South Trace pro shop. He is the son of former Fairfield Vice Mayor Debbie Pennington.
  • Gwen Ritchie is a Realtor and currently serves on the Fairfield Parks Board, Planning Commission and Planning and Zoning Advisory Committee. She previously worked on the city’s connectivity plan, served on the Environmental Commission, served on the Fairfield Forward Steering Committee, and worked on the city’s Insight 2010 Plan.
  • Kim Romine is a P&G scientist and project manager, and started with the global company in 2002 as a lab assistant.

The city’s charter allows the council to appoint a qualifying replacement to fill a vacancy on the board, no matter how much time is left on the term to be filled. The new council member will be seated at the first meeting of August, said Mayor Mitch Rhodus.

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