COLUMBUS, Ohio (WMCH) — Mitchell J. Brown’s retirement from Columbus City Council was short-lived.
On Monday, the council unanimously tapped the former councilmember to join its ranks — for the second time in his career — to fill the seat vacated by President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown, who resigned this month to become president of YWCA Columbus.
Mitchell Brown, who retired from the city council at the end of 2021, was selected from a slate of eight finalists. Among his seven competitors, Mitchell Brown was the only applicant with experience as a Columbus City Council member.
Appointed to the council in 2016, Mitchell Brown led the Veteran’s Affairs, Seniors Services and Public Safety Committees during his time at Columbus City Hall, according to the city’s website. He served Columbus for two decades, culminating in more than 40 years of public service in Ohio.
After launching his career as an Air Force paramedic, Mitchell Brown dedicated his time to developing emergency response protocol for paramedics, serving first as Cleveland’s Emergency Medical Services Commissioner and later as its public safety director, according to the city of Columbus’ website.
Mitchell Brown climbed the ranks to statewide office, serving as the Registrar for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety under then-Gov. George V. Voinovich, the city’s website indicates. Under former Gov. Taft, Mitchell Brown directed the Ohio Lottery Commission.
In 2000, former Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman selected Mitchell Brown to direct the city’s public safety department. He retired 15 years later, making him the longest-serving public safety director in Columbus’ history.
Mitchell Brown retired from the council on Dec. 31, 2021, calling his six-year tenure at City Hall “an incredible journey.” Citing his status as a 13-year cancer survivor and long-time devotion to serving the public, he said at the time that he would not seek re-election and instead spend time with family.
At least until the council’s November 2023 election, Mitchell Brown will be the fifth of seven current members who were appointed to the bench.
“We are deeply honored to have Mitchell J. Brown bring his great expertise as a former Councilmember and Director of Public Safety,” Council President Shannon Hardin said in a statement. “His talent will be of extreme value during the next year as we continue to tackle critical issues such as housing, transportation, education, safety, health, and wellness.”
Council will add two new members in 2023 when its elections switch from at-large to districts. Columbus residents will still vote for all members of the body, but council members will be required to live in the district they represent.