Detroit City Council Narrows Candidate List to 17, including Unite Here's Janee Ayers

By Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press 7:47 a.m. EST January 10, 2015

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The months-long process to replace Saunteel Jenkins on the Detroit City Council advanced in a major way on Friday, as the list of candidates to fill the seat was narrowed from 135 to 17.

Council members had until 5 p.m. on Friday to submit up to three names from the pool of 135 applicants to advance to an interview round. The council is expected to interview candidates the week of Jan. 19 before voting to appoint Jenkins' replacement for the at-large seat.

The candidates who advanced to the interview round are:

Janee' Ayers; John Bennett; David Bullock; Dustin Campbell; Tyrone Carter; Kenneth Donaldson; Fred Durhal; Adam Hollier; Frazier Kimpson; Paula Humphries; Roy McCalister; David Nathan, Bernard Parker; Wanda Redmond; Robert Thomas; Beverly Kindle Walker; and Debra Walker.

The list of candidates, according to a memo sent to the council on Friday, did not indicate which council member picked which candidates.

 

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Not all council members responded to the Free Press' inquiries about whom they selected.

Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. said his choices were Humphries, a 36th District Court judge, and Durhal and Nathan, both former state representatives.

Councilwoman Mary Sheffield said she picked Bullock, a Baptist pastor, Parker, a former Wayne County commissioner, and McCalister.

Councilman Gabe Leland said he picked Nathan, Ayers and Bennett, who opposed Leland in the city council election in 2012.

"The three people I picked I felt could bring about support for the efforts that we're currently pushing forward," Leland said Friday. "I think that we need to fill this seat as soon as possible. We have full power now with the EM gone."

The council's legislative responsibilities were fully restored last month when former emergency manager Kevyn Orr resigned as Detroit exited bankruptcy.

The winning candidate must receive at least six out of eight votes from the council. That person would serve until the city's next general election in November 2016.

Jenkins' resigned on Nov. 7 to become chief executive officer of The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW).