Member Login

Ron Gunning, Former Mayor of Dayton, Appointed to Fill Vacancy on City Council

Questions lingered unanswered among council members,candidates, and residents at the Dayton City Council meeting Tuesday night when Councilman Jerry Gifford decisively moved to nominate Ron Gunning, former mayor, city councilman, and school board member, to fill the council seat suddenly left vacant last month by Bobby Allen.
 
Minutes later, Gunning had been appointed.
 
“He served as mayor and as city councilman,” Gifford said of Gunning earlier in the meeting, “I think he’d do well.”
 
Indeed, no stranger to elected office in Dayton, Gunning has logged 44 years in elected office, beginning as a school board member in 1966, until 1990, when he joined city council (appointed in 1990, then elected to a full term two years later). It was another decade later when Gunning was appointed from council to the mayor’s office, to replace just-impeached mayor Bobby Crittendon.
 
Mayor Ken Rankle opened up the floor for nominations to fill Allen’s seat, and it wasn’t long before questions began to arise.
 
First, a resident asked whether or not council should select a candidate who is running for city council this November, as it could create an unfair advantage. 
 
Candidates Denny Lynn, Joe Neary, and Jennifer Sierra were all mentioned as applicants to consider. Lynn, former fire chief and Allen’s recommendation for his replacement, stood to explain that he had pulled his name from the applicants, for that reason.
 
Councilwoman Cathy Volter then proposed holding an interview process to vet the applicants before bringing the matter to a vote. This was when City Attorney Jack Fischer informed Council that the deadline for making the appointment is June 5, 30 days after Allen’s resignation. Failure to do so would have resulted in the task being passed to Governor Steve Beshear.
 
Volter still seemed confident interviews could be accommodated. 
 
But before any of these issues could be resolved, Gifford interjected to nominate Gunning, followed quickly by a second from Burns. A roll call vote approved Gunning’s nomination 3-2, members Gifford, Bill Burns, and Virgil Boruske in favor, and members Volter and Penny Hurtt opposed.
 
Council then voted to approve Gunning, again with Gifford, Burns and Boruske in favor, and Volter and Hurtt opposed, swiftly rendering moot all of the unanswered questions leading up to the appointment.
 
At least, it seemed, for everyone except Volter, who immediately made a motion to conduct interviews before appointing Allen’s replacement, effectively rescinding the Council’s most previous decision.
 
Fischer chimed in again, to remind Council that this appointment cannot be undone in this manner.
 
Volter held to her motion, which was seconded by Councilwoman Hurtt. Once again, the votes tallied Gifford, Burns, and Boruske opposing Volter and Hurtt’s votes in favor.
 
Amidst all the unresolved issues, one thing remains certain. Ron Gunning will be extending those 44 years in office to 44 years and a half.

Written by Pat LaFleur, RCN contributor

Photo: Dayton City Building