Paul Gray slid into a familiar seat Tuesday morning, appointed by a 4-2 vote to temporarily succeed Michael O’Donnell as the District 4 representative on the Wichita City Council..
Gray, who served District 4 from 2003 to 2011 before leaving because of term limits, will serve until the April city elections. Then, voters will choose someone else to serve the remaining two years of the term. Gray has said he will not seek the seat in the spring election.
O’Donnell left the council in December after being elected to the Kansas Senate.
“I am very honored and humbled to have this opportunity to serve the city again in the capacity of council member,” Gray said. “I really look forward to seeing how the campaign unfolds the next few months so the electoral process can work to properly seat someone.”
Gray was immediately sworn in by Sedgwick County District Court Judge Jennifer Jones and took his seat on the bench. He posed a couple of questions to city staff as the council considered final approval of a sports and entertainment development at K-96 and Greenwich.
Gray received votes from council members James Clendenin, Jeff Longwell, Pete Meitzner and Lavonta Williams. The council’s leadership — Mayor Carl Brewer and Vice Mayor Janet Miller — cast their ballots for former council member Stan Reeser, who served from 1991 to 1995 under then-Mayor Bob Knight.
The third candidate, real estate broker Jeff Blubaugh, receive no votes. He is the only one of the three to file thus far to seek the unexpired term.
Gray’s appointment came during the second council meeting in which the issue was considered. Council members delayed the vote last week when one candidate, Josh Blick, withdrew. Gray and Reeser also announced last week they would not run to complete O’Donnell’s term.