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The council’s action in taking no action was the right thing to do in regards to the vacancy left by Jim West. While we would not have had any issue with the council beginning the process of seeking out applicants, there is nothing wrong with waiting until January.
Yes, this will delay the process but that is a small price to pay when you consider that this really needs to be done right – and by those it will impact most, the council coming on board in 2009.
We also disagree with the comments that since Ken Milder finished fourth, he should be the one appointed. We have nothing against Ken and we hope he applies to the new council for consideration. But to say that the voters have already spoken for him misses the point of the election.
When an incumbent loses, clearly the voters are unhappy with him. Despite his fourth-place finish, he lost and that should be considered.
And there are many variables here. If West had resigned earlier, there may have been more candidates and Milder may have finished fifth. We simply don’t know. So it does not work to say the voters have spoken for him.
So we agree with Vice Chairman Robert Gibson who said the council should go through an application process in which interested candidates could submit an application, along with their qualifications and an explanation of why they want to be a county councilor.
The new council has many tough tasks ahead of it. From budgeting to spending, there are some hard times ahead. The last thing it needs is to be bickering over a seat filled with someone the majority does not want.
Again, let’s get this done right and for everyone’s benefit.
As to the process, the council is bound by the law. It cannot hold an election nor do anything but make an appointment.
County Attorney Mary McInerny read the charter on council vacancy appointments at the meeting and reported that it says council will appoint someone to the seat. Period.
So for all of us, let’s support the council in its efforts to find the best person.