ITHACA, N.Y.—The City of Ithaca announced on Monday that the search process is beginning to fill an impending vacancy on Ithaca’s Common Council.

Jeffery Barken, Third Ward Alderperson, announced in February he would be resigning from his seat on council in June, stating at the time, “I leave with a heavy heart, but have decided to pursue other interests out-of-state.”

Ithaca’s Common Council will be appointing someone to finish out the rest of the two year term Barken was elected to serve, which ends December 31, 2023. 

The City of Ithaca’s process for filling a vacancy on Common Council resembles the way a company fills an open position. The process to fill a vacancy begins with the city soliciting applications from residents of the ward in which a vacancy has occurred, as is stated in the Common Council’s Rules of Procedure. Residents of Ithaca’s Third Ward are being asked to submit a letter of interest and a resume to the city clerk’s office if they are interested in the position. 

New ward boundaries will come into effect in Ithaca in 2024. Eligible applicants include residents that live within the current Third Ward, which includes a large part of Cornell’s campus, and the Belle Sherman neighborhood.

Interviews with all eligible applicants are to be conducted by a selection committee, according to the Rules of Procedure. The committee is composed of Ithaca’s mayor, an alderperson of the mayor’s choosing, and a council member from the same ward in which the vacancy has occurred. A recommendation of a single candidate will be made by the selection committee to Common Council. The committee will either approve or disapprove the candidate through a majority vote.

In the event a recommended candidate is disapproved, the Rules of Procedure allows for the selection committee to recommend an alternate candidate at the same meeting. 

Jimmy Jordan

Jimmy Jordan is Senior Reporter for The Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact him at Connect with him on Twitter @jmmy_jrdn