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The city council will function with a vacancy after the most recent meeting with Shruti Rana



Bloomington, Indiana – After holding the post for around two months, city council member Shruti Rana took part in her final council meeting on Wednesday. Until her post is filled, the council will function with a vacancy.

Rana took office on January 1st and became the first elected woman of color to serve on the Bloomington City Council. On January 13, she declared that she would be leaving her job with effect from February 7.

Rana announced her resignation and her family’s move to Missouri in an email to the other council members. In September 2023, Rana agreed to take a job at the University of Missouri as an assistant vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and inclusive excellence as well as a law professor.

Rana’s family chose to move after her husband, David Gamage, got a job at the Institution of Missouri. Rana told the Indiana Daily Student in January that her new post is remote-hybrid and allows her to work for the institution while living in Bloomington.
Rana praised the people in District 5 and her fellow council members for giving her the chance to serve on the council during her video conference attendance at the meeting on Wednesday.

“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.”

In retrospect, Rana explained that she decided to run for government because she was worried 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.”

Rana was recognized by Councilmember Matt Flaherty for her service 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.”

During the meeting, council members Sydney Zulich, Andy Ruff, and Isabel Piedmont-Smith expressed similar views to Flaherty.

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

Rana was appointed to chair the Jack Hopkins Social Service Standing Committee during her first council meeting on January 10. She was also asked to represent the council on the Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Council Sidewalk Standing Committee, the Council Interview Committee B, and the Council Special Committee on Council Process.

The majority of these committee and board posts were redistributed by the council during its meeting on Wednesday. In addition to serving as a representative on the council’s Special Committee on Council Procedure, Councilmember Isak Asare will take on the role of chairwoman for the Jack Hopkins Social Service Standing Committee.

Flaherty will act as an acting representative on the Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization, while Piedmont-Smith will act as an acting representative on the council Sidewalk Standing Committee. Piedmont-Smith stated that these temporary seats will probably be filled by the District 5 representative who has not yet been chosen.

To replace Rana, the chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party, David Henry has not called a caucus. Henry did, however, state in a recent newsletter that more details regarding the caucus will be made public after Wednesday. Additionally, Henry stated to the Indiana Daily Student in January that he intended to have the District 5 caucus scheduled for February 21 at the latest.

A caucus has to be held by the Monroe County Democratic Party to choose Rana’s replacement as vice chair, but the date has not yet been set.

According to Indiana Code, the precinct chairs for District 5 must convene to choose a candidate for the position no later than March 8, or 30 days after it becomes vacant. Until the caucus, the nine-member Bloomington city council will temporarily be reduced to eight members. The city council will meet four times between February 8 and March 8.

Three candidates—former Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore, community activist Courtney Daily, and former city council candidate Jenny Stevens—have declared their intention to run in the caucus to succeed Rana. In the Democratic Primary for District 5 in May 2023, Stevens faced off against Rana.