Councilwoman Lilisa Mimms has been lobbying behind the scenes to get Vivian Gaines, a retired school administrator, appointed to the vacant 3rd Ward seat on the City Council.
Mimms claimed she never suggested Gaines for appointment to the seat. Three sources said Mimms has been trying to get a resolution before the council to appoint Gaines to the seat.
“They are making up stuff,” said Mimms. She denied even floating Gaines’ name for the appointment.
Gaines worked as a principal of Eastside High School. School officials said she retired last year. Mimms’ daughter, Jasmine Kennedy, is a teacher coordinator at Eastside High School. Mimms said Gaines was the principal of a different academy at the high school than the one where her daughter works.
Mimms later claimed “community leaders” wanted the 3rd Ward seat filled. Who are those community leaders? She wouldn’t provide their names.
But the two men, Alex Mendez and William McKoy, who, combined, received 86 percent of the votes in the 3rd Ward, have expressed their preference for leaving the seat vacant until voters make a decision in the special election on November 3.
McKoy has said it is reasonable to keep the seat vacant because having a vacancy in the 3rd Ward is not hampering the functioning of the council.
“I agree a thousand percent that position has to stay vacant. What is it that they are trying to accomplish? We’re 54 days away from November 3,” said Mendez on Wednesday. “Why do they need that vote? For what project?”
Mendez had won the seat in May, but a judge invalidated the results of that election because of voter fraud.
Mimms claimed her unnamed community leaders wanted representation for the residents of the 3rd Ward. Three at-large members of the City Council can represent them until voters elect a council representative on November 3, said officials.
Gaines’ husband Linton Gaines had a contract in 2018 to sell school district properties. He has donated to assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter’s campaign and is linked to assemblyman Benjie Wimberly.
Council president Flavio Rivera late last month said he intends to keep the seat vacant. He said there are enough members to carry out the council’s duties. He filled the 2nd Ward vacancy to avoid dysfunction on the council.
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