Ex-mayor will run for Talent council

TALENT — Former Ashland Mayor John Morrison has applied for the seat on the Talent City Council left vacant last month by the resignation of Brian Roberts, who is now under investigation by the state Elections Division.

Roberts, citing personal reasons, resigned Feb. 7.

His vacant seat will be filled by appointment of the mayor and council March 17. There are two applicants for the seat — Morrison and Chris Auer, a mental health counselor.

City Manager Jay Henry said the council will interview applicants at 6 p.m. March 17, prior to its regular 6:30 p.m. meeting, and may appoint the new member then.

Morrison, a Talent native, said he was asked by a council member to serve. The position will be up for a vote in November, but Morrison said he would not be a candidate.

"I'm up to snuff on issues of the valley and it seemed to be a nice thing to do," Morrison said. "I'm not interested in running for the seat ... and I have no aspirations to run for mayor."

In 2008, when Morrison was still mayor of Ashland, he conceded that he lived the majority of the time in Talent, but maintained a small space in Ashland. He said at the time that he was living with his girlfriend, former Talent mayor Marian Telerski, because he could not afford a place in Ashland.

Morrison was an unsuccessful candidate for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners in 2008, his last year in office as Ashland's mayor.

Auer, 31, said he just moved to the area a year ago and he and his wife are expecting their first child.

"It's a place we're going to call home for a long time and we plan to raise our children here and wanted to be part of it," Auer said.

Roberts was elected to the Talent City Council in 2000 and 2004 and resigned in February 2008 for health reasons. He was appointed in January 2009 to fill out the term of Lynn Perkins, who resigned. He resigned again this year, citing personal reasons, said Mayor Don Steyskal.

The Elections Division confirmed the filing of a complaint in November against Roberts, but noted it cannot comment on cases until the investigation is done.

Calls to Roberts were not immediately returned Tuesday.

Complaints to the Elections Division are usually for violations of state elections laws around contributions and expenditures reporting or misuse of public resources for campaigns. They are handled as civil matters, with inquiries by mail, said Don Hamilton, spokesman for the Secretary of State's office.

Whoever is appointed to the vacant council seat would serve until the end of the year. Candidates will run for the Position 3 seat in the November general election.

Voters also will decide in November who will fill Position 1, held by Bob Wilson, and Position 5, held by Bill Cecil.

Applications for the positions are available at City Hall, 110 E. Main St., or on the Web at www.cityoftalent.org.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

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