Council has a tough choice

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By Ralph Damiani

In fulfilling its legal role in filling the vacant county council seat left by the resignation of Jim West, the council has a tough task before it.

With applications from 11 local residents, many of whom have considerable community experience and knowledge, their task is not an easy one.

The vacant seat has been the subject of discussion and dissension for a couple of months now. And in all honesty, it will be a surprise if that debate ends Tuesday.

There are some in the community urging the council to just take the next-place finisher in the election and name that person.

While there would be nothing wrong with that, and we have no problem with that person, the council is really under no obligation to do that.

Or show any consideration to those numbers. While it is easy to talk about the votes received, one must also talk about the votes not received when making such an argument.

The people who finished fourth and fifth did lose remember and that fact must also be considered.

All that said, we do not envy the council this decision. Almost no matter how it goes, there will be a lot of unhappy folks.

The task is made even harder by the quality of many of those who applied.

We agree with Council Chair Michael Wheeler when he said that people have to understand that this is going to be a political process, not a personnel one. How councilors vote will be tainted by public pressure, by party politics and by personal relationships.

As much as we might wish that was not so, it is. So the most qualified or the most deserving person may not get the nod. We had all be ready to accept that.

While there are some candidates who would be a poor choice, the vast majority are good folks who will work hard for all of us. And we need that today as these are extraordinary times.

We need leadership and people who will stand up and be counted.

Tuesday’s meeting should be interesting. We hope people of all persuasions attend and take part in what should be a fascinating process.