The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Mazahir Salih sworn into Iowa City City Council seat early due to state law stipulations

Additionally, Councilor Andrew Dunn will no longer be on the council until he is officially sworn into seat in early January.
Sahithi Shankaiahgari
Mazahir Salih smiles at her watch party at fix! Coffee on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. Salih was reelected to her seat on the city council after receiving the highest number of votes.

Mazahir Salih, a winner of one of the Iowa City City Council’s at-large seats this month, was sworn into her council seat on Friday instead of in January because of stipulations within the state constitution.

Councilor Andrew Dunn was appointed to the council in January to fill the remainder of former councilor Janice Weiner’s term after her resignation, which ended Nov. 7. 

According to Article XI, section 6 of the state constitution, if an official is appointed to a council, their term expires once the general election occurs and a qualified successor is elected. Because Dunn was appointed to the council rather than elected by special election, the next valid elected official takes precedence for the seat over the appointed official.

Salih and Josh Moe both won an at-large council seat in the Nov. 7 general election. According to John Deeth, an election technician at the county auditor’s office, the candidate with the highest number of votes is selected to fill the at-large seat, which was Salih.

Deeth said the reason why this is happening now rather than closer to the actual election is because votes were officially confirmed, or canvassed, this Tuesday.

Dunn ran for Councilor John Thomas’ District C seat in the general election, which Thomas will hold until his term expires at the end of this year. This means Dunn will no longer serve on the council until officially sworn into the District C seat in early January, and Salih will take his at-large seat.

Salih was sworn in at the Iowa City City Hall on Friday. She will serve the remainder of this year’s term as well as the entirety of her term that starts in January. She will be sworn in again in January to start the term she was elected to, Salih said at the event on Friday.

At the swearing in, almost all seats in the city council chambers were filled, and Salih was greeted with cheers and applause when she walked in. Attendees included Mayor Bruce Teague, Councilor Pauline Taylor, Johnson County Supervisor Royceann Porter, and Iowa City school board member Charlie Eastham. 

In a press release, Salih stated this will allow her to get started with her work on the council as soon as possible and create a more seamless transition for her.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve our community,” Salih wrote. “My commitment to advocating for the diverse voices of Iowa City remains resolute, and I am honored to step into this role to represent our city.”

In an interview with The Daily Iowan, Dunn said he was not aware this was a possibility when he was campaigning for the District C seat and just found out about this a few days ago. He said he is disappointed he will not be able to participate in the next two council meetings but is happy for Salih.

Dunn said he is especially upset that he will not be able to voice his position on the contentious housing code amendments that are in the process of being voted on by the council.

“It was shocking information to learn,” Dunn said. “It’s going to affect my ability to advocate for our community on some really important issues coming up.”

At the event, Salih said she was also not aware of this possibility while campaigning and was notified she would be sworn in early just a few days ago. In terms of the housing code amendments, Salih said she has her work cut out for her to get up to speed on what has been going on in the council.

“I have to go and dig deeply, learn about [the amendments], watch the previous two council meetings to see what the community said, and after that try to see what my decision is going to be,” Salih said. “I would say I have a lot of work to do.”

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About the Contributor
Isabelle Foland
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.