By DAVID A. MANN
Clark County Republicans expect to have a caucus later this month to fill a now empty seat on the Jeffersonville City Council.
An at-large council seat is being vacated by Republican Ron Grooms, who won a bid for state senator on election night earlier this week. The state’s constitution does not allow a person to hold more than one political office at a time.
Grooms said he would be sworn into his new post on Nov. 16 and plans to resign his council seat around that time. After that, Republican precinct committeemen from the 22 precincts that voted during the last Jeffersonville election will vote on a set of declared GOP candidates during a caucus, he explained.
Grooms has been on the council for nearly 19 years.
“It's going to be a sad day for me. There will probably be a tear or two in my eye when I announce it’s my last meeting,” he said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve in that position. It’s something I’ve taken very seriously.”
It’ll be up to Republican Chairman Jamey Noel to call the caucus. He said an official date has not been decided yet. Candidates interested in the position can contact Noel to declare.
During the last few months, there had been so much thought given to getting Grooms elected that little attention was given to the question of who would replace him on the council, Noel said.
“We still got a lot of work to do. We want to make sure to get a good candidate who can turn around and run again next year.”
FEW NAMES EMERGE
In talking with local Republicans Thursday and Friday, there seems to be a few names circulating as far as prospective caucus candidates.
Residential Developer Alan Conner, currently on the Clark County Board of Aviation, has been mentioned as one prospect. Conner, reached for an interview Friday, said it was discussed on election night and that he was interested in the job.
Additionally, Lyn Ackermon, a member of the Jeffersonville Fire Merit Commission, has been named as a prospect for the job. He was called but could not be reached for comment Friday.
“I think both these people would be great,” said Councilman Ed Zastawny, a fellow Republican and one of the precinct committeemen who’ll be voting on the candidates.
Regardless of who wins the caucus, “they’ll have to work hard, especially in next year’s election. I want someone who can retain the seat,” Zastawny said.
And those aren’t necessarily going to be the only candidates. Republican Councilwoman Connie Sellers said she’s heard other names in addition to those but was not comfortable releasing them because she wasn’t sure if they’d been approached about the job yet.
Newly elected Clark County Auditor R. Monty Snelling said he’s heard other names as well, also declining to release names.
Snelling, also a voting precinct commiteeman in the upcoming caucus, said he wants a conservative Republican on the council to balance out what he called the “loose spending” of the last few years.