When Jackson City Council meets again on Monday evening, Jan. 24, there will be a new Council member on board representing the city’s third ward.

During a meeting of the Jackson County Republican Central Committee conducted Thursday evening, Jan. 13, at the Jackson Memorial Building Auditorium, the Committee’s Jackson City Caucus chose Oak Street resident Herman (H.D.) Crabtree. Jr. to serve as the new Third Ward Councilman on Jackson City Council.

The Committee also addressed two existing vacancies on Wellston City Council for the second and fourth ward council positions. Lynley Carey, who had been serving as the fourth ward council member, was reappointed by the Wellston City Caucus to serve in that same position. However, Central Committee Chairman Justin Lovett has determined the Second Ward council opening in Wellston will have to be appointed by Wellston City Council. Mattison Vance had been serving in that position and is seeking the reappointment.

Jackson City Council Appointment

Crabtree will be filling the vacancy left by last month’s resignation of former Third Ward Councilwoman Debbie Biggs, who stepped down due to moving out of the city. Biggs had served a two-year term ending at the end of 2021, but she had been re-elected to a new two-year term covering 2022 and 2023. Crabtree will serve for the remainder of the new term.

Former Jackson City Councilman Dan Coll was also seeking the Third Ward appointment and both men were present at Thursday evening’s meeting and spoke to the Committee. Coll had served a two-year term ending in 2021 as an at-large councilman and had unsuccessfully sought a new term running as an independent in last November’s General Election.

When Chairman Lovett called for nominations, City Caucus Committee member Marlana Evans nominated Crabtree and there were no nominations made for Coll. In a roll-call vote, City Caucus members Alice Newkirk and Brett Foster joined Evans in voting for Crabtree.

In his comments to the Committee, Crabtree stated that he had grown up in Jackson and that he and wife, Amanda, have raised four sons, who have attended the Jackson City Schools. Crabtree has worked as a pharmacist for a total of 24 years, the last 11 with Holzer Health System.

Crabtree stated that his professional experience has gained him skills which could be helpful as a city councilman. For example, he says he regularly deals with compliance and standards and is also responsible to handle a budget on an annual basis.

“I like Jackson and I’m looking for an opportunity to serve,” Crabtree concluded.

Coll began his remarks by exclaiming that he was “85 years old and still kicking” and that he would like to continue to serve. He explained he initially decided not to run for re-election due to concerns about COVID-19, but later in the year reconsidered when he learned he could run as an independent.

Coll heaped praise on Jackson Mayor Randy Evans and his administration for the recent progress made by the city, including the passage of a new city income tax to generate needed new funds and the hiring of staff to fill the roles of grant writer and code enforcement officer.

“Council has supported him [Mayor Evans] and I hope Council will continue to do so – if I have anything to do with it,” Coll declared while also expressing full confidence in Crabtree.

Wellston Council Appointment

Late last year, the Wellston City Caucus appointed Lynley Carey to fill the Fourth Ward Council position which was vacated when Anthony Brenner resigned in order to accept the position of Wellston City Service Director. However, Carey’s appointment covered only the remainder of Brenner’s term, which ended at the close of 2021. Brenner’s name was on the 2021 General Election ballot and he was actually elected, but for obvious reasons did not accept the position.

Carey, who was not present at Thursday’s meeting, had indicated her willingness to continue as the Fourth Ward Councilwoman and no other office-seekers came forward to apply for the open position. Wellston City Caucus member John Pelletier nominated Carey and there were no other nominations. Caucus members Adam Massie and Cheryl Raymer joined Pelletier in voting to appoint Carey, who will serve for the full 2022-2023 term.

Chairman Lovett then explained that the situation involving the Second Ward Council position in Wellston was different. Wayne Cosper, who had held the position, resigned. The Wellston City Caucus later appointed Mattison Vance to fill Cosper’s unexpired term, which expired at the end of 2021.

However, Cosper, in addition to resigning his position, also formally withdrew his candidacy for re-election to the 2022-2023 term. Consequently, Lovett, after consulting with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, determined that the Second Ward vacancy for the new term should be filled by Wellston City Council rather than the Jackson County Republican Party. At Lovett’s request, the Wellston City Caucus members voted unanimously to affirm that the Republican Party is not going to fill this vacancy. Vance is reportedly willing to continue serving and would accept a reappointment.

The next scheduled meeting of Wellston City Council is set for Thursday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Wellston City Building.

Other Committee Business

Prior to dealing with the City Council vacancies, the Jackson County Republican Party’s Central Committee voted to fill two vacancies on the Central Committee. Alice Newkirk was appointed as the new Jackson Second Ward member while Bob Denny was appointed to fill the position representing Washington Township.