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Posted on: September 9, 2021

Council appoints new members to fill vacant seats

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The City Council convened Tuesday, Sept. 7 for a called Special Session to vote on 13 candidates to fill Ward 1 and 5 vacant seats.

Six candidates were voted on by the City Council to fill the Ward 1 seat previously held by Richard Garret. City Attorney Lance Baker provided a review of the City Code in regards to voting procedures for the Council to abide by.

After a stalemate to reach seven votes between candidates Tiffinea Reid-Johnson and Brian Zacharias in round eight of voting, the Council tabled voting so that a Ward 5 representative could be selected to assist in breaking the stalemate.

Seven candidates were voted on for the Ward 5 seat previously held by Jason Knight. After subsequent rounds of voting, Ambar Marquis was voted in as the new Ward 5 Councilperson and sworn into office by Mayor Joe Pitts.

With an additional Councilperson to assist in breaking the previously tabled Ward 1 stalemate, the Council tied voting 6-6 in round nine of voting and voted in Brian Zacharias in round 10 as the new Ward 1 Councilperson and was sworn in by Mayor Pitts.

Zacharias, a Career & Technical Education / Social Studies Teacher at West Creek High School with a Masters of Education, was in the Army for 22 years and has lived in Clarksville for 15 years, four of which in Ward 1. When approaching the Council to apply for the position, he drove home points on socio-economic, infrastructure, growth, and military household challenges that he sees in Clarksville.

Marquis, a New York City native, has lived in Ward 5 for six years. She drove home points in her application speech to the City Council about creating smart, sustainable growth so that Clarksville’s infrastructure is equipped to handle the population growth Clarksville is seeing and will see. 

Questions about residency prompted the resignations in July of Ward 1 Councilperson Richard Garrett and Ward 5 Councilperson Jason Knight. Garrett resigned on July 22 after the District Attorney’s Office filed two separate civil lawsuits regarding claims he has lived outside his ward since 2020. In a separate matter also involving residency questions and other issues, Knight resigned from his seat on July 23.

Councilpersons Zacharias and Marquis will serve until the next City election in November 2022.  Garrett was elected to a four-year term in 2018 and Knight was elected to a four-year term in 2020, so  Ward 1 voters in 2022 will choose a candidate to fill a full four-year term, and voters in Ward 5 will choose a candidate to fill the seat until November 2024, for the remainder of the unexpired term.

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