The seat is filled.
On Monday, May 12th, Jeff Baltimore was elected to Harrisburg City Council taking the vacant seat left by the passing of Eugenia Smith.
Procedurally, the process was to go like this as explained by City Solictor Neil Grover: 4 candidates; City Council nominates candidates for vote; nominees need a second to count; nominees who get a second proceed to vote; first nominee that gets four votes, wins the seat.
Three rounds of votes happens, and if no winner, the nominations start over again. If, though, City Council hit a tie and could not break it after a set number of rounds, then the decision moved to Dauphin County Court.
“City Council wants to avoid that,” the solicitor advised.
Four candidates made it to this final stage—Baltimore, Michelle Blade, Alex Reber, and Kelly Summerford. However, only three received nominations and were voted upon. Michelle Blade’s name was not called.
Sandra Reid nominated Summerford; Susan Brown Wilson nominated Baltimore; and Shamaine Daniels nominated Reber. All received seconds and went to vote.
The first three rounds of vote resulted in Reber getting the votes of Daniels, Ben Allatt, and Brad Koplinski; Baltimore the votes of Wilson and Wanda Williams; Summerford the vote of Reid.
The second round of nominations and subsequent three rounds of votes resulted the same. There was a stalemate.
At this point, Reid asked the City Solicitor Neil Grover if she could abstain. He indicated that she could, but that he advised against it.
It was then that Kelly Summerford stood at the public mic and removed himself from the process. His actions were commended by City Council and the publicin the crowded City Council Chambers.
Resuming the process, Reid now nominated Jeff Baltimore. Daniels nominated Reber. When the vote was called Baltimore received three votes—Reid, Williams, and Wilson. Reber received three votes, too—Daniels, Koplinski, and Allatt. This happened three times then the Solicitor called Mayor Eric Papenfuse and asked him if he would like to institute his right to participate and cast a vote.
“Time is of the essence, ” the Mayor said as he accepted the call. “I vote for Jeff Baltimore.”
And with that Dauphin County Judge Jeannine Turgeon stepped forward, swore him in, shook his hand, and the room erupted into applause. After shaking the hands of his new colleagues, Baltimore took his seat and Harrisburg City Council resumed its business.
Baltimore is now Chair of the Public Safety Committee.