Bloomington Ward 6 residents unhappy with mayor’s possible consideration for vacant seat

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — City leaders in Bloomington have just over two weeks to fill an open spot on the city council.

Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe has until October 30th to appoint a replacement candidate for the Ward 6 seat on the city council.

Former-Ward 6 alderperson, Jennifer Carrillo, resigned after they had to move out of the ward.

In an email, the mayor sent to council members, he said he’s considering appointing former council member and mayor pro-tem, Karen Schmidt, to the position. Ward 8 council member Jeff Crabill shared the email to his official Facebook page, and it has gained the attention of city residents.

Schmidt was the Ward 6 representative from 1999-2019 before losing a reelection campaign to Carrillo in 2019.

At Monday night’s meeting, multiple Ward 6 residents voiced their outrage over the mayor’s consideration, as Schmidt was not one of the original 11 applicants for the vacancy.

Luisa Gomez said she got her application in on time and followed all the procedures and questions why deadlines kept getting extended and someone who didn’t apply or have to follow the procedures is being considered at all.

“How do we know the rules if the rules keep changing; the 10 of us who put in our applications, the goalpost keeps moving, and I’m just curious as to what qualifications are they looking for,” Gomez said.

Gomez, who lives in Ward 6 said the council should be representative of all the city’s residents and politics should not play a role in the decision.

Coretta Jackson, a former-Ward 6 resident, and now Ward 7 resident told the council Monday night that Wards 6 and 7 are the “red-headed stepchild.”

“I say that because the current state of the council is not representative of Bloomington,” Jackson said. “There’s an empty seat right there, it’s been there for quite some time and there’s been decisions made about infrastructure, about flooding without representation from Ward 6.”

The Mayor has 60 days from Carrillo’s resignation to name a replacement per city code.

“No one is delaying anything. The appointment is entirely the mayor’s prerogative,” said Ward 2 council member Donna Boelen. “The ward represents their constituents, but also makes decisions that affect the entire community.”

According to his email, Mwilambwe is considering Schmidt because her name has been mentioned to him by “several” people. The mayor also said he is wanting to find someone with a broad consensus of support from the other council members.

Whether Schmidt or another candidate is chosen for the vacant seat, they would serve the remaining 19 months of Carrillo’s term, then would need to seek reelection if they choose to do so.

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