Council member Donna Reed has been appointed vice president of the council

Councilwoman Donna Reed has been named vice president of the Reading City Council.

Reed, who represents District 5, is in her fifth term as a city councilwoman. She was elected in 2002 and previously served as Vice President from mid-2015 to mid-2017.

Reed was appointed by a 4-2 vote at the regular council meeting on Monday. Council members Melissa Ventura and Wesley Butler voted no.

Reid replaces former vice president Jahani Sepeda-Freitiz, who was elected board president in June following the death of former board president Jeffrey S. Waltman Sr.

Cepeda-Frateiz, who was unable to attend, asked other council members via email to delay the vote until next month.

As board president, Cepeda-Frateiz has the ability to make amendments, additions and revisions to the agenda, said Michael J. Gombar, Jr., counsel for the board.

Gombar said he reviewed the board president’s email.

“You know, I don’t want to get too technical,” the attorney said in response to a request for clarification from Councilman Christopher M. Daubert, “but her email did not specifically ask for it to be removed. She asked to be taken out.”

A motion earlier in the meeting to pass a resolution appointing a vice president failed, with only Butler and Ventura voting to postpone.

Butler said it was important that Cepeda-Frateiz, as board president, voted for the vice president position.

“Unfortunately, she’s not here tonight,” he said. “And she wanted that resolution carried over to the next meeting where we would vote on it.”

Ventura and Reed indicated their willingness to serve when the resolution was introduced last week at a council committee meeting.

After Monday’s nomination of Reed by Daubert, Butler tried to nominate Ventura. However, Gombar said no additional nominations could be made unless the vote to nominate the first nominee, Reid, failed.

Ventura asked why the practice of appointing board officers based on experience was not discussed last week when the resolution was introduced.

Councilwoman Marcia Goodman-Hinershitz said she discussed the practice with Ventura in a phone conversation before the meeting.

The board has an advantage in selecting leadership candidates based on experience and years of service, Goodman-Hinerschitz said, noting that she endorsed Reed because of Reed’s seasoned leadership skills.

“I think these are exceptional circumstances,” Goodman-Hinershitz said. “At this point, I’m just looking for body stability moving forward.”

The councilwoman noted the recent death of Waltman and the changes in the board.

Daubert was appointed to the council in April to fill the District 1 seat vacated when Councilwoman Brianna Tyson resigned in March after less than three months in office.

O. Christopher Miller was appointed last month to fill the District 6 seat after Cepeda-Frateiz was elected council president in June.

Goodman-Hinerschitz asked her fellow council members to continue working together for the benefit of the city.

“Let’s always try to make it a win-win, no matter the topic,” she said. “We may have our differences, but let’s try to stay focused. Let’s learn from the people who have been at the table, and let’s learn from the people who have new ideas.”

Reed also emphasized the importance of working together for the greater good. No one council member has more power than another, she said, and they all represent the city and — with the exception of the council president — a specific district.

“We’re all one,” Reid said. “We are all, each one of us, one of seven people.”

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