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Wichita City Council may appoint O’Donnell’s replacement Tuesday

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, at 4:45 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2013, at 10:12 a.m.

The Wichita City Council will take another shot Tuesday at appointing a new District 4 council member.

It’s still not clear whether three remaining candidates to replace Michael O’Donnell can get the four votes necessary to win the three-month appointment, council members say.

Former council members Paul Gray and Stan Reeser, along with Wichita Realtor Jeff Blubaugh, are vying for the temporary appointment. Blubaugh also is running to complete O’Donnell’s two-year term in April’s city elections.

O’Donnell left the council bench in December to assume the 25th District Kansas Senate seat.

Council members want to fill the post. And they’ve scheduled Sedgwick County District Judge Jennifer Jones to immediately swear in O’Donnell’s replacement on Tuesday, according to city documents.

“I’m hopeful we’ll have a decision,” Vice Mayor Janet Miller said Friday. “But I find it hard to predict an outcome. I certainly hope someone will be selected.”

The issue first came before the council last Tuesday, but members voted 4-2 to delay the vote a week. During Tuesday’s meeting, Josh Blick removed his name from consideration, and Gray and Reeser indicated they won’t seek the full two-year term in the April election.

“That changed the landscape,” Miller said.

If no decision is reached this Tuesday, the vacancy will extend into February because the council does not meet Jan. 22 and 29. Its next meeting is set for Feb. 5.

Mayor Carl Brewer and council member Lavonta Williams said last week that they are receiving requests from District 4 residents, in southwest Wichita, for help with basic infrastructure projects in the absence of their council representative.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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