Chillicothe Councilman-at-Large Reed Dupy was voted in as mayor by fellow councilmen and took the oath of office Monday evening to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Charles “Chuck” Haney, who passed away Saturday, May 5.
Chillicothe Councilman-at-Large Reed Dupy was voted in as mayor by fellow councilmen and took the oath of office Monday evening to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Charles “Chuck” Haney, who passed away Saturday, May 5. In his capacity as councilman-at-large and due to the death of the mayor, Dupy recommended himself to the position and that recommendation was confirmed by council members with a 3-0 vote during the council’s regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. Voting were 1st Ward Councilman Denny Albertson, Third Ward Councilman Tom Douglas and Fourth Ward Councilman Paul Howard. Second Ward Councilman Wayne Cunningham was not present. This is the first time in Chillicothe history that a presiding mayor died while in office, said City Administrator Darin Chappell, and the process to fill that vacancy was unclear. City Attorney Robert Cowherd explained that Chillicothe residents voted to amend the city’s charter in 2001 so that the mayor could, with consent of the council, appoint someone to fill the unexpired term of an elected official. The proposal was put on the ballot to avoid the cost of a special election if the need to fill a vacancy ever arose. However, the measure did not address how to proceed if a vacancy arose in the mayoral position. “For anyone else other than the mayor, it’s clear,” Cowherd stated. “It’s not so clear when there is no mayor.” The charter and ordinance state that the councilman-at-large is the only council member who is elected throughout the city and that person takes over and fulfills mayoral duties in the mayor’s absence. Noting that no case law addresses this specific situation, Cowherd suggested that the city treat the situation as the councilman-at-large can appoint someone as mayor, and have the council approved it. “I don’t think the intent was that the city would operate without a mayor,” Cowherd stated. Chappell noted that Dupy was not necessarily “jumping at the opportunity” to become mayor. “It is important to take note that we are simply following the pattern as best we can,” Chappell stated. Dupy took the oath of office as administered by City Clerk Roze Frampton after the council vote Monday evening. Now that Dupy has been named mayor, a vacancy exists for the councilman-at-large position. The city is accepting applications from citizens of Chillicothe to fill that opening. Anyone interested has until Thursday, May 24, to submit an application. It is anticipated that the council will vote on the recommendation at the May 29 meeting. Applicants for councilman-at-large must be at least 21 years of age, have lived in city limits for at least one year, be a registered voter and a U.S. citizen. Applications may be obtained at the city clerk’s office at City Hall. Monday night’s meeting opened with a moment of silence in memory of Haney, who had served as mayor since 2007. “His passing affected the entire community, not just City Hall and his family,” said Chappell. “He had been involved with the city for many years.” Dupy has served as councilman-at-large since 2017, after having completed three terms as 1st Ward councilman. He has served continuously on the council since 2011. Chappell noted that the city’s business will continue. “We have every confidence in Reed Dupy and we will continue on the high standards of civil service,” he noted.