In the lawsuit, Andrew Guenther asserts that he has been duly appointed by GOP Monroe County chair William Ellis, and should serve on the commission instead of Cockerham.
It’s not yet decided which judge will hear the case. Owen County circuit judge Kelsey Hanlon, who’s facilitator of District 20, has been asked to appoint a special judge. One of 26 judicial districts the state, District 20 is made up of Monroe, Owen, Lawrence, and Greene counties.
In mid-April, Ellis declared his right to make the appointment as chair of the Republican Party. The announcement from Ellis came after Hamilton for several weeks did not fill the vacancy that was left when Hamilton decided not to re-appoint Nick Kappas. Kappas’s term expired at the end of 2019.
The city of Bloomington confirmed to The Square Beacon on Thursday afternoon that the mayor, John Hamilton, has appointed commercial real estate broker Chris Cockerham to fill the vacancy on the city’s plan commission. The plan commission is a nine-member group, five of which seats are appointed by the mayor.
The vacancy was created in January, when Nick Kappas was not reappointed.
In a statement sent to The Square Beacon city attorney Mike Rouker said, “[T]he Mayor was pleased to select Chris for service on the commission. We are very excited about this appointment, and we are looking forward to Chris and the rest of the plan commission getting back to the important work they do for our community.”
Reached by The Square Beacon on Thursday, Cockerham said, “I’m ready to serve and happy to serve. Hopefully, it works out.”
One of the nine seats on the Bloomington plan commission has been vacant since around Jan. 6, when the four-year term for Nick Kappas expired, and the city’s mayor, Democrat John Hamilton, decided not to reappoint him.
The spot held by Kappas is one of the five seats on the nine-member plan commission that are expected to be appointed by the mayor.
In a departure from that expectation, a press release issued Thursday afternoon, by Monroe County Republican Party chair, William Ellis, says the GOP leader has made the plan commission appointment to fill the vacancy.
The GOP chair’s pick, according to the release, is Andrew Guenther, who’s current chair of the city’s environmental commission. Last year Guenther was a Republican candidate for the District 2 city council, a race that was won decisively by Democrat Sue Sgambelluri.