A lifetime Kent resident practicing law downtown will join the dais at Kent City Council to help craft local laws and steer the direction of the Tree City.
Members of council appointed Kent attorney Scott Flynn Wednesday night to take over the at-large seat vacated by Robin Turner earlier this month.
Flynn was appointed after about 90 minutes of interviews with nine of the 11 people who applied for the position and after three rounds of balloting by council. The vote was narrowed to Flynn and a former staffer for Congressman Tim Ryan, Sean Buchanan, by the third round. Flynn received five votes to win the appointment.
"It’s always been in my nature to give back to the community," Flynn said. "I think I’ve got a good grasp on what the issues are for the community as a whole."
Flynn will serve the remainder of Turner's term, which expires in December 2015. Flynn said Wednesday that he's "pretty sure" he'll run for re-election to the seat.
The applicants were: Flynn; David S. Basista, an engineer for a Cleveland firm; Buchanan; Dorial L. Daniels, a retired Kent activist; John Ferlito, former Kent health commissioner; Michael Guilitto, an attorney with offices in Ravenna; Paulette (Polly) Kordinak, a retired teacher and former real estate agent; Melissa M. Long, a Kent Planning Commission member; Devan L. Martin, a student at Kent State University; Leighann K. Poplaski, an employee for the Ohio District Court of Appeals; and Linda UmBayemake.
Of the 11 people who applied for the vacancy two were not present for Wednesday's interviews: Long and UmBayemake.
In welcoming Flynn, Councilman Garret Ferrara said he's hopeful the vacancies for the city's other boards and commissions will see such a qualified field of applicants.
"It made it so easy for us this evening because we couldn’t have gone wrong no matter who” we appointed, Councilman John Kuhar said.
During the interviews Wednesday, the applicants made a brief statement about themselves and then answered questions posed by council members. Flynn fielded questions from Ferrara, Kuhar, Fiala, Heidi Shaffer and Jack Amrhein.
Ferrara asked Flynn what he thought were the biggest issues city leaders will face in the next few years.
"I think the police station is an immediate need," Flynn said. "I don’t necessarily have a solution to that. I acknowledge that the citizens really voted against it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s done with.
"Longer term, I’d like to see some of the neighborhoods revitalized," he said.
Kuhar asked Flynn to share his thoughts on industrial redevelopment and the idea of bringing more manufacturing jobs to Kent.
Flynn pointed to the former RB&W site on Mogadore Road and the former AMETEK site on Lake Street as old manufacturing sites that can be revived — whether for manufacturing or other commercial uses.
"Yes we have the downtown, but where else can we get jobs?" Flynn said.