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East Lansing city council prepares again to fill a vacancy

City of East Lansing

The East Lansing City Council is once again facing the need to fill a vacancy.

Councilmember Lisa Babcock was elected to a judgeship on the 54B District Court bench earlier this month. She’s expected to resign from council at the end of December. The city charter requires a replacement within 30 days.

When Aaron Stephens resigned in 2021, the council brought former council member Shanna Draheim back for a short time. In 2020, an application and interview process was used to fill two vacancies. Ron Bacon and Dana Watson were chosen. Bacon now serves as mayor in East Lansing.

Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg says the process will be the same this time.

“I feel pretty proud of the fact that they were re-elected in this election cycle, because to me, that means that we did a good job of selecting somebody that East Lansing would want to be represented by,” Gregg said.

Gregg says she hopes the process will lead to someone East Lansing voters would elect if they had the chance.

“We put out an application that’s pretty similar to just like a resume,” she explained. “I think there’s usually a question on there about why they want to serve or something. It’s pretty broad, but it gives us the chance to kind of sort through and see who really would maybe be an electable councilmember for East Lansing.”

Council is expected to approve the process at its Dec. 6 meeting and pick someone in January. The appointed council member's seat will be on the November 2023 ballot.

Corrected: December 29, 2022 at 2:37 PM EST
This story has been updated to reflect that Lisa Babcock has been elected to a judgeship on the 54B District Court.
Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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