4 seek open 1st Ward seat on City Council

The council post was left vacant by the late Councilman Jim Armbruster.

MIDDLETOWN — Four 1st Ward residents have thrown their hats in the ring to fill the vacant seat on City Council.

Council members received applications from the four candidates during an executive session following their regular meeting Tuesday evening, May 4. The 1st Ward seat has been empty since late March, when Jim Armbruster died as a result of heart-related complications.

In addition to Gary Barge, who ran against Armbruster last November, local residents Jason Allan Jones, Thomas B. Allen and Robert Hoffman all submitted an application for the open position by 5 p.m. Monday, May 3.

Vice Mayor Anita Scott Jones said all four candidates will be invited to participate in a public interview process during City Council’s May 18 meeting. Each candidate will get two minutes to make an opening statement, followed with questions from council members.

“We’re each going to come up with our own questions,” Jones said. “None of the candidates will know what they are before the meeting, though.”

Barge, who resides in the 2300 block of Wilbraham Road, said his experience as a small-business owner for more than 15 years qualifies him as a “good fit for the citizens of Middletown.”

Jason Allan Jones, of the 600 block of Auburn Street, listed experience both with his church and the Community Pregnancy Center as examples of his involvement in the Middletown community. Jones said he wants to play a part in helping the city turn a corner and become “greater than ever before.”

Allen, a partner with Frost Brown Todd and resident of the 4600 block of Amberly Terrace, said he is committed to the city and has “a vested interest in helping (it) succeed.”

Hoffman, of the 2400 block of Wilbraham Road, has lived and worked in the city for more than 30 years. Hoffman wrote he would “like to help our city get back on its feet.”

City Council’s appointee would fill the unexpired term until November 2011, at which point voters will elect someone to fill the remaining two years of the seat’s four-year term.

Contact this reporter at (513) 705-2871 or at rgauthier@coxohio.com.