Ending weeks of speculation, state Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. said Monday he will not seek to replace City Councilman William H. Cole IV, who is leaving the council to run Baltimore's economic development corporation.
"As a former member of the City Council who represented the 11th district, I was asked by my former colleagues and community leaders to seek the appointment to the seat," Mitchell said in a statement. "After much thought, prayer, and deliberation with family and friends, I have decided not to seek a return to the City Council."
Bill Romani, president of the nonprofit One House at a Time, and Betty Bland-Thomas, former president of the Sharp-Leadenhall Planning Committee, have said they planned to apply for the job.
Mitchell spent 12 years on the City Council and four as a delegate before losing his seat after a state redistricting process shrunk the district. Mitchell also was runner-up to Mayor Sheila Dixon in the 2007 mayoral election Democratic primary.
"As we collectively seek to make Baltimore a better place for our families to live and work, the 11th district needs and deserves a full-time representative who can bring new energy and fresh ideas to the community and to the City Council," Mitchell said. "My family, my teaching and coaching obligations at St. Paul’s School, as well as other opportunities that have been presented to me would make it very difficult for me to devote the time that is necessary to be an effective representative in the City Council for the citizens of the 11th District."
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Cole as the new head of the Baltimore Development Corp., the quasi-public agency tasked with attracting new businesses and projects. The announcement came as BDC President Brenda McKenzie said she was resigning for personal and family reasons less than two years after she came to Baltimore from Boston.
A new city law on filling a council vacancy will be tested for the first time. City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young has the task of creating a committee with at least 13 members — mostly from community groups — to nominate a finalist for Cole's seat.
That process will begin next month.
Young has said he planned to appoint a mix of community members, business leaders and City Council members to the committee. The full City Council will cast a final vote on the nominee.