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With Murray’s replacement sworn-in, Council looks to replace Dennard

Posted at 10:35 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 23:27:53-05

CINCINNATI — Hamilton County Probate Court Magistrate Betsy Sundermann was sworn-in to Cincinnati City Council Wednesday evening as Councilmember Amy Murray tendered her resignation to accept a position in the federal government.

“After seven years on Cincinnati City Council and proudly and happily representing all the citizens of Cincinnati ... I will be resigning immediately following this meeting," Murray told Council Wednesday.

Murray, appointed to City Council in 2011 and elected in 2013 and 2017, announced last month she was stepping down to become Director of Small Business Programs for the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime ... This is just so hard after spending so much time with people who you have grown to be friends with and have friendship with,” Murray said Wednesday.

And it's time and work that Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said contributed to much of Cincinnati's recent growth.

“Many deals would not have passed — (FC Cincinnati), a brand new major league soccer team in Cincinnati would not be here ... The Children’s Hospital expansion would not have happened without your vote," Cranley told Murray Wednesday night.

The Hamilton County GOP recommended Sundermann last week after Murray met with party leaders and Charter Committee representatives. On Wednesday, Sundermann said she hopes to continue the work Murray championed.

One of the former Hamilton County assistant prosecutor's new goals: expanding ShotSpotter, the city's gunshot-monitoring system, to more neighborhoods.

“If we work together, we can rise above the chaos and solve the big problems in our city without division and instead with common sense and reason. So let’s get to work,” she said.

Even with the new addition to Council, Cincinnati’s nine-person governing body has one vacant seat. Embattled former council member Tamaya Dennard, facing federal bribery, fraud and extortion charges, resigned on Monday.

Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld will appoint Dennard’s replacement, now has fewer than 30 days to name a successor before the decision goes to the full council.

Council also unanimously elected Councilmember Chris Seelbach to replace Dennard as its president pro-tempore and as its chair of the Equity, Inclusion, Youth & Arts Committee Wednesday evening.