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The Indiana Daily Student

city politics bloomington

City council to operate with a vacancy following Shruti Rana’s last meeting

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City councilmember Shruti Rana participated in her last council meeting Wednesday after serving in the position for around two months. The council will operate with a vacancy until her position is filled. 

Rana is the first woman of color elected to the Bloomington City Council and was sworn into office Jan. 1. She announced on Jan. 13 she would step down from her position effective Feb. 7.  

In an email sent to her fellow councilmembers sharing her resignation, Rana said her family was relocating to Missouri. Rana accepted the positions of assistant vice chancellor for inclusive excellence and strategic initiatives and professor of law at the University of Missouri in September 2023.  

Rana told the Indiana Daily Student in January her new role is remote-hybrid and allowed her to work for the university while living in Bloomington, but her family decided to relocate after her husband, David Gamage, accepted a position with the University of Missouri.  

Attending Wednesday’s meeting by video call, Rana thanked her District 5 constituents and fellow councilmembers for the opportunity to serve on the council.  

“I think we have a really positive future in our city,” Rana said. “We have all of you here today but also people who are working in our city in so many different ways and capacities to really build the future that we need and deserve here.” 

Rana reflected on her campaign for office and said she wanted to run because she was concerned about her daughter’s future. 

“I initially ran for this position because I was just really concerned about my daughter’s future and all of the children in our city and what was happening in our state,” Rana said. “I just worried about rights being taken away and thinking about what are the opportunities where we can build a better future at the local level.” 

Councilmember Matt Flaherty thanked Rana for serving on the council. 

“I was excited when you announced your intent to run and I’m very sad not to serve with you longer but wish you all the best with your family and some of the new career opportunities you all are exploring,” Flaherty said. “I'm looking forward to supporting some of the priorities and legacy you left even in your short time in office.” 

Councilmembers Sydney Zulich, Andy Ruff and Isabel Piedmont-Smith echoed Flaherty’s sentiments during the meeting.  

“Indiana’s loss is Missouri’s gain,” Piedmont-Smith said.  

During her first council meeting Jan. 10, Rana was tapped to serve as the chairperson for the Jack Hopkins Social Service Standing Committee and as a representative on the Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization, the council Sidewalk Standing Committee, council Interview Committee B and the council Special Committee on Council Process.  

During Wednesday’s meeting, the council reassigned most of these committee and board positions. Councilmember Isak Asare will be the new chairperson for the Jack Hopkins Social Service Standing Committee and a representative for the council Special Committee on Council Process.  

Piedmont-Smith will serve as an interim representative on the council Sidewalk Standing Committee and Flaherty will serve as an interim representative on the Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization. Piedmont-Smith said the yet-to-be selected District 5 representative will likely take over these interim positions. 

The Monroe County Democratic Party Chair David Henry has not scheduled a caucus to replace Rana. However, in a recent newsletter Henry said more information about the caucus will be released after Wednesday. Henry also told the Indiana Daily Student in January he was looking to schedule the District 5 caucus on Feb. 21 at the earliest.  

The Monroe County Democratic Party must also schedule a caucus to replace Rana as its vice chair, but a date has not been announced. 

Indiana Code requires District 5 precinct chairs to meet to select an individual to fill the vacancy within 30 days after the vacancy occurs, or March 8. The Bloomington city council will temporarily operate with eight members, instead of the usual nine until the caucus occurs. There are four city council sessions scheduled between Feb. 8 and March 8. 

Three candidates have announced they plan to stand as candidates in the caucus to replace Rana including former Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore, local activist Courtney Daily and former city council candidate Jenny Stevens. Stevens ran against Rana in the May 2023 District 5 Democratic Primary. 

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