Costello resigns from city council
Marion vice-mayor Chris Costello, who has been in ill health, has resigned from city council, paving the way for 2-2 votes until someone replaces him.
Council member Zach Collett said in an email that it was his understanding that the council would appoint a replacement to serve until the Nov. 7 election.
When a previous vacancy occurred in 2016, however, the city insisted that the appointment of a successor would be for the entirety of the unexpired term. Costello’s seat is not up for election until 2025.
The mayor’s seat is up for election this fall as well as Ruth Herbel’s and Jerry Kline’s.
“This seat will be on the same ballot as the mayor and two councilor positions,” Collett wrote.
Collett’s term runs through 2025.
Collett said in a follow-up call that he expected that all council members — not just Mayor David Mayfield — would weigh in on Costello’s replacement.
Herbel said she thought the candidate who finished closest in the most recent city election should replace him. That would be zoning commission chairman Darvin Markley.
Collett received 263 votes in that election. Costello received 217. Markley received 168, and Katherine Young received 60.
Herbel is the subject of a recall effort by Mayfield and his wife, Jami, as well as Kathern Swan, Margaret Wilson, Morgan Makovec Looney, and Steve Hart.
When votes on the council split, Herbel and Kline often vote together, and Mayfield, Collett, and Costello vote together.
“I would think so,” Kline said when asked about tied votes until Costello’s replacement begins serving.
State law says that “whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of council member, the governing body shall appoint an elector of the ward where the vacancy occurs to be council member for the balance of the unexpired term.”
However, some aspects of state law regarding filling vacancies were voided over the years by various city charter ordinances, and these portions never were replaced in those ordinances.