LANCASTER CITY, Pa. (WHTM) — The Lancaster City Council held a special meeting last night on Nov. 18, 2022 to interview several applicants to fill the open seat on the council.

This special meeting comes as former council president, Ismail Smith-Wade-El, resigned from his position prior to election day on Nov. 7, 2022. Following Smith-Wade-El’s resignation, the council began taking applications for the open seat that by law, they have 30 days to fill.

The Lancaster City Council interviewed a total of 10 applicants for the open seat. Each applicant was given three minutes to introduce themselves to the council, followed by a 15 minute interview session where each council member asked the applicant a question. It should be noted that all candidates were asked the same series of questions and questions were provided by each of the council members- the following questions were:

  1. What community organizations, city boards, commissions, or authorities, or other community activities are you currently involved with?
  2. If appointed to City Council do you plan on seeking election for one of the open seats in 2023? Why or why not?
  3. If appointed to City Council, what committee would most interest you to serve on and why?
  4. As a member of City Council, how would you encourage public participation among city residents?
  5. What experience do you have successfully working with people of varied backgrounds and perspectives?
  6. What unique experiences or strengths do you possess that you hope can benefit city council in serving the city?

The applicants backgrounds, experiences, and passions varied – but their love for Lancaster City held true across the board. The applicants for the open seat were:

  • Ahmed Ahmed
  • Liza Ong Ante
  • Tene Darby
  • Tony Dastra
  • Andre Gilbert
  • Jeremy Hayes
  • John Hursh
  • Tony Israel
  • Philip Jones
  • Lewis Waltman

If appointed, the new council member will hold the seat until the first City Council meeting in January 2024 – at which time those who are elected to the council in the next municipal election will take office, according to the City of Lancaster website.

According to Lancaster City Council President Amanda Bakay, the council will hold another special meeting on Dec. 5, 2022 at 5:30pm to vote on the official appointment of the new Lancaster City Council member.