Tuesday, July 20 marked the filing deadline for the November 2021 East Lansing City Council election, and an updated posting from the City Clerk’s office shows Ron Bacon will not be running unopposed for the 2-year seat after all. On the day of the deadline, Mikey Manuel filed to run against Bacon.
Who has filed to run for the two open 4-year seats?
- Daniel Bollman
- George Brookover
- Adam DeLay
- Chuck Grigsby
- Dana Watson
Who has filed to run for the one open 2-year seat?
- Ron Bacon
- Mikey Manuel
ELi will be bringing candidate profiles for Brookover and Manuel soon. In the meantime, you can read our candidate profiles for the other candidates by clicking on the links provided in our dedicated Voter Guide.
Who might be appointed to Council to fill the vacancy caused by Stephens’ resignation?
At the July 13 meeting, Stephens’ announced his resignation from Council, effective Aug. 11. The City Council is now formally accepting applications for people interested in serving as the fifth member of Council following Stephens’ resignation taking effect. Find the application here.
Whoever Council appoints to take Stephens’ seat will serve on Council only from whenever the appointment is made through November, when the new City Council is seated after the election results are in.
Stephens has said that he hopes Council does not appoint anyone running for election. People around town seem to be in agreement with that sentiment. A number of readers have told ELi that they believe that, given the relative inexperience of this City Council – with Stephens gone, the four remaining members will have on average just over one year’s experience on Council – the appointment should go to someone who has been on Council before.
Names being floated include former mayors Diane Goddeeris and Douglas Jester and former Council members Shanna Draheim and Kathy Boyle. On the ELi podcast recorded on July 19 and set to be broadcast on Impact 89 radio on July 25, Stephens told ELi he would like to see Draheim appointed.
Who might become Mayor Pro Tem?
Right now, Jessy Gregg is Mayor Pro Tem, so she will be sworn in as Mayor after Stephens’ resignation takes effect. Council will then elect a Mayor Pro Tem (substitute mayor) from their own ranks.
If Council members appoint someone to the vacant seat in advance of the vote for a new Mayor Pro Tem (which could happen if they decide on the appointment quickly), the new appointee could be the person elected Mayor Pro Tem.
But ELi is hearing from a number of readers who are saying it would be wrong for the Council to elect as Mayor Pro Tem anyone who wasn’t recently elected to City Council by the voters.
Stephens’ departure leaves Council with just two voter-elected representatives – Jessy Gregg and Lisa Babcock. (This may be the first time East Lansing will have a majority of Council be appointees, not elected representatives.)
Incidentally, at the July 13 meeting of Council, advocates of ranked voting came to encourage Council to put to the voters the option of changing to a ranked-voting system for City Council. Right now, the City Council race is decided by “winner take all,” the system by which the top vote-getters are seated. Under ranked voting, the people with the broadest support win the seats.
Max Donovan, one of the advocates who spoke at public comment, claimed that in the last few years the people seated on Council have not even achieved majority support. That’s not true.
Of the last five people elected to Council by the voters, while Aaron Stephens and Mark Meadows received less than a majority of voter support (at 49% and 43% respectively), the other three received majority voter support.
Ruth Beier received 63% voter support when first elected in 2013, and 57% voter support when reelected in 2017. Jessy Gregg received 65% voter support in 2019, and Lisa Babcock received 64% voter support in that same election.