City commissioners voted 3-1 Monday night to appoint Dickinson, 30, Ottawa, to fill Jeff Richards’ two-year term on the commission.
Richards resigned April 17 after being appointed Franklin County sheriff April 10. He had been elected April 2 to a two-year term on the commission. The seat will come up for election again in April 2015.
“Now that a decision has been made, I look forward to working alongside the other commissioners to make decisions that will help improve quality of life for the people of Ottawa,” Dickinson said. “Our community has great potential for many areas of growth, and I am excited to see what Ottawa can achieve in the coming years.”
Mayor Sara Caylor and commissioners Linda Reed and Mike Skidmore voted for Dickinson. The three commissioners agreed Dickinson would represent a younger segment of the Ottawa population that has not had a frequent voice on the commission in the past.
Caylor and Reed said they liked that Dickinson talked about being able to bring a different perspective to the board, and Skidmore said he could tell Dickinson was hungry to serve in the position. Dickinson made an unsuccessful bid to win a commission seat in the April 2009 election.
“I submitted my name because I felt it was important for the commissioners to have a diverse group of candidates to choose from,” Dickinson said. “I felt very privileged to have been chosen out of a group of very capable candidates.”
Dickinson beat out finalist Gary Jordan, an Ottawa attorney.
The other six candidates were Rocky Fleer, Helen Hood, Richard Jackson, Ruthanne Wasko, Barb Humm and Rick Johnson.
Commissioners narrowed the field to Dickinson, Jordan and Jackson, then eliminated Jackson — saying he had been defeated in two elections. Some commissioners said they thought they would be going against the will of the voters if they appointed Jackson to the position — though all the commissioners agreed Jackson’s previous 12 years on the commission gave him an edge in experience over the others.
An Ottawa native, Dickinson is a graduate of Ottawa High School and is self-employed as a free-lance writer. Dickinson is expected to be sworn in Wednesday during the city commission meeting at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa.
Dickinson talked about the challenges he saw ahead for the city.
“The first priorities are always budget and infrastructure,” he said. “I know the commission strives to find the best way to spend the budget to achieve the most good. This includes continuing to maintain and upgrade the city’s infrastructure.”