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Blankenship Returns to Erlanger Council, Filling Vacancy

Randy Blankenship was returned to Erlanger city council last week, chosen to fill the unexpired term of Kevin Burke, who resigned after moving from the city.

Blankenship previously served twelve years on council and lost the 2018 mayoral race to now-Mayor Jessica Fette in a close election.

The decision was not unanimous.

Blankenship was nominated to fill the role by Councilwoman Corine Pitts, but Councilman and former Mayor Tyson Hermes said that council should follow three guidelines: to consider past council members, to avoid boosting someone's election chances in November, and someone who isn't controversial.

Hermes suggested several other past council members.

Councilwoman Patty Suedkamp disagreed.

"I think you are expecting something that is not going to happen," she said. "Randy is a class act! I am disgusted that you might suggest that he is not! Also, we discussed all those names in executive session, and now you have told the whole world! I am so tired of these games!"

Hermes said that he was sorry that they couldn't agree.

Hermes was joined by Councilman Gary Meyer in opposing Blankenship's return to council, but Suedkamp, Pitts, and council members Tom Cahill, Kathy Cahill, Renee Skidmore, Don Skidmore, and Rebecca Reckers voted in favor. Vicki Kyle and Don Nicely were not present.

"I am honored to be selected to serve the City of Erlanger once again," Blankenship said when contacted by RCN. "Erlanger has long been my home and if I can help the city in any way, I am excited to help."

In other business, council approved changes to an ordinance about storing boats, vehicles, and RVs in the back of a property. The previous ordinance allowed for only one such storage, but now residents can store two in the back, and one on the side or front.

Mayor Jessica Fette received approval to request federal assistance available to municipalities to help cover COVID-19-related costs. City Administrator Matthew Kremer said that Erlanger was eligible for $1.4 million.

Council also acknowledged the retirement of police officer Todd Rice, who served thirty-three years, retiring once in 2007, and then returning. Dave Hahn, the economic development director, is also set to retire soon, Fette said.

Resident William Duvall, a Boy Scout working towards his Eagle Scout designation, presented to council on veterans and how the community could help make their lives better. He is also designing and building a wheelchair ramp for a veteran who lives on Center Street. 

Mayor Fette told Duvall that if he needed help with manpower or materials, she would work to find assistance.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

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