Leesburg Planning Commissioner Nicholas Clemente appears to be the top choice of Town Council members to fill the vacant council seat.
Council members had until close of business July 17 to submit their top choices for filling the seat left vacant by Josh Thiel’s resignation, which took effect May 31. Each council member was asked to select his or her top five choices among the 16 candidates who asked to be considered for the appointment, and submit those choices to Clerk of Council Eileen Boeing.
Clemente was the only candidate to appear as a finalist for five members.
By the process adopted by the council at its July 14 meeting, only candidates who received at least four votes of support would be considered for appointment at the council’s July 28 meeting, when a vote to appoint could occur. Should council members follow that process, Clemente would be the only candidate discussed.
In addition to his work on the Planning Commission as well as the working group studying changes to the town’s H-2 District, Clemente is the membership director of the Virginia chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. In his expression of interest, he cited his previous legislative experience working on Capitol Hill and ability to build coalitions of interest among people of different ideologies.
“The Council has an opportunity to appoint someone who will work with all members and listen to every perspective, to build consensus. If appointed, I will use my talents of building alliances to meet the challenges of today. To accomplish this, I would meet with all my Council colleagues to find areas of interest and common ground that we all share. I would strive daily to encourage the values of perseverance and promote a positive self-fulfilling prophecy,” he wrote.
Clemente received a vote of support from the five council members who submitted votes by the deadline. According to the staff report, no votes were received from Councilman Tom Dunn.
Following Clemente, Gladys Burke, Marantha Edwards, and David Kirsten all received three votes of support each. Other candidates were Zach Cummings, Peter Lapp, and David Miles, all of whom received two votes of support each; and Sharon Babbin, Eric Christoph, Todd Cimino-Johnson, and Kari Nacy (one vote each). Andy Jabbour, Dianne Kellum, Zachary Klares, Sean MacDonald, and Tom Marshall did not receive any votes from council members.
Whomever is selected to fill Thiel’s seat will serve until the end of his term, Dec. 31. Thiel’s former seat, along with the seats of Councilman Ron Campbell and Dunn, will be on the ballot in November for new four-year terms. Cummings and Nacy also are on the ballot, along with candidates Ara Bagdasarian and Bill Replogle. Campbell had filed to run to challenge Mayor Kelly Burk for a new two-year term but said after he did not receive the Loudoun County Democratic Committee nomination that he was suspending his campaign, though his name remains on the ballot. The filing deadline to run in November’s Town Council race has passed.