City Council seeking successor for Terry Cohen

The Salisbury City Council has until Sept. 5 to appoint a replacement for City Council member Terry Cohen, who resigned unexpectedly Monday.

Cohen, serving her second term, made the announcement at the end of the council meeting, citing daunting family responsibilities and saying the future will place demands on her that won’t allow her to maintain her own high standards.

She said in the past 10 months she and her family “experienced some major life changes, including a recent tragic loss.”

She declined to comment further, but fellow Councilman Tim Spies said he will miss her “insight and her grace under pressure.”

“She has been a great asset for the city of Salisbury, unrecognized by many,” said Spies, who served with her since 2011.

He said he didn’t know about her resignation in advance.

Mayor Jim Ireton said he, too, was surprised she resigned.

“In the end, Terry knows what is best for her family. She will be missed, as she has always been a fierce advocate for our neighborhoods and law enforcement. My wish for her, on behalf of our citizens,  is peace of mind as she heads into another chapter of her life,” Ireton said.

City Clerk Kim Nichols said, according to the city charter, the council has four weeks from the day of resignation to appoint a replacement. That day is Sept. 5. There will not be a special election.

The person nominated to fill the seat must live in District 2, be 21 or older and a registered voter and a Salisbury resident for  at least one year. He or she must be approved by majority vote, meaning by three of the four remaining council members. The mayor does not vote.

A city council appointment was last made after Councilman C.T. Webster died in 2003. The city council appointed his son in October that year to fill the remainder of his term, which was one month.

Cohen’s replacement will serve until November of 2015, when there will be a city council election.

Cohen was first elected in 2007, and again in 2011.

She was formerly council president.

Current Council President Jake Day, the night she resigned, praised her service to Salisbury. He was in Fort Bragg, training with cavalry soldiers.

“Terry has been an important figure who has worked hard for this city and her neighbors for decades,” Day said.

“This transition in her journey doesn’t negate that service. I look forward to personally thanking her for her service,” he said.

Cohen ran for office with the slogan, “True optimism lies in not only celebrating our positives, but also facing our difficulties openly and with cooperative problem solving.”

A graduate of James M. Bennett High School and the University of Pennsylvania, she has been a member of Salisbury Business & Professional Women more than 20 years and was appointed to the Maryland Commission for Women by two governors.

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