Jackson City Council appoints new member to fill vacant Fifth Ward council seat

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Jackson County, Mich. (WLNS) — The Jackson City Council has selected a new council representative for the City’s Fifth Ward.

At a special meeting on Wednesday, May 27, the council voted four to two to appoint Karen Bunnell to the vacant seat.

Bunnell will fill out the rest of this seat’s term, which is up for re-election in Nov. 2021. The appointment came after nearly two hours of public interviews with Bunnell and two other Fifth Ward residents, Susan Murdie and Peter Bormuth.


Bunnell is a Jackson native. She works for a local insurance company and is involved in various
community organizations, such as the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Bright Walls and the Jackson
Young Professionals. She previously served as a member of the Downtown Development Authority. The next step is for Bunnell to be officially sworn in by the City Clerk.

The seat was vacated following the April resignation of former Councilmember Kelsey Heck. Calls for Heck’s resignation populated in May because of her 2019 vote to approve a traffic circle around Austin Blair Park, just south of downtown Jackson, according to our media partners at MLIVE.

Heck was appointed to the position in Sept. 2018 following the resignation of former Councilmember Andrew Frounfelker, who resigned on charges and conviction of domestic violence.

The City Charter indicates that council vacancies are to be filled by appointment by the City
Council. However, the City Council has tasked the Charter Review Committee with looking into how the charter can be changed to allow for special elections to fill council vacancies.


The City’s Fifth Ward is comprised of Downtown Jackson and its surrounding neighborhoods.

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