Detroit City Council fails to fill vacancy this week

Council members hope to make choice at meeting next week

Detroit City Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez
Detroit City Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez

DETROIT – Detroit City Council declared an impasse Wednesday after seven votes to fill a vacant seat due to the resignation of Saunteel Jenkins.

The Council had 135 applicants and narrowed that down to 16, who were under consideration on Wednesday. The Council hoped to have three final candidates but they ended up with four. When they voted they had a four-way tie -- not once, but several times.

They changed the voting rules and narrowed the candidates down to two. One of those needed a super majority of six votes to win, and they didn't get it. It came down to Debra Walker and Janee' Ayers.

Ayers is not discouraged.

"I'm a bridge builder. I'm a problem solver. This is what I do in my day-to-day work, coming from the labor community is one piece of it. But I also have been in education and a public service employee for the city of Detroit recreation department," said Ayers. "So ... I can get along with everybody."

Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez (District 6) said Walker is her top choice.

"I think it's important to have a fresh perspective and Debra has a lot of experience both in the business sector and in the non profit sector, which I like. And I like that she has never run for office. I know that Janee' also has that background," said Castaneda-Lopez.

The City Council will meet again Tuesday to re-interview these two candidates. They will make their choice -- if they can -- on Tuesday.