Mayfield Heights has a new city councilman, but he is not one of the final six candidates who were interviewed in recent weeks.
Robert DeJohn has been appointed to council, Mayor Anthony DiCicco said Tuesday afternoon. DeJohn is a lifelong Mayfield Heights resident who currently sits on the city's planning commission.
DeJohn lost by just eight points to councilmember Nino Monaco in the November 2011 election.
Why, after six, 20-minute interviews and an executive session, did the city go in an entirely different direction to fill the vacancy? Council could not agree on a candidate within the 45 days that passed since DiCicco left an empty seat on council, the mayor said.
"All the candidates were great," DiCicco said. "When it came down to discussing them, they all had something to offer this city."
Still, the city charter states that the appointment would be left up to the mayor if 45 days wasn't enough time for council to reach a decision. From there, DiCicco was left up to his own methodology for appointing a new member.
"I didn't want to split up council, so I decided to pick outside of the candidates," he said. "I went with the person who had the most votes in the last election, but didn't get voted.
"There's not a criteria that says that is who should be picked."
DiCicco liked that so many people in the city had already expressed faith in DeJohn to do the job. Also, his father, Ross DeJohn, served as the city's mayor from 1966 to 1993.
DeJohn's first meeting will be a not-yet-set organizational gathering in which council will appoint a president and president pro tem. He will hold office through December 31. He can choose to run for the remaining two years of the unexpired term or for a four year term.
There will be one, two-year term and four, four-year terms for city council on the ballot in November.
"When it came down to it, it was just a tough decision that could not be made," DiCicco said. "Council did a great job of interviewing the applicants, but it was just a tough decision."