Talent City Council considers seat appointment

TALENT — The City Council will consider appointing someone to replace Bob Wilson after a community member criticized its decision to wait until after the November election.

Wilson had submitted a letter of resignation in June, citing a doctor's recommendation to resign from all boards on which he served. His term expires in December.

The council declined to accept it.

Mayor Don Steyskal cited closeness of the November election and the possibility that Wilson could resume his duties as reasons for not filling Wilson's seat.

"The earliest possible time (to appoint someone) would have been this meeting," Steyskal said Wednesday. "An appointee would have an unfair advantage to run as an incumbent in the upcoming elections."

Resident Dan Goyette questioned why the council had not followed precedent and appointed an interim member.

"It appears it's difficult to put new blood on this council," Goyette said. "My opinion is that the council and the city will get benefit from having another voice."

Goyette also criticized the council's reliance on a 2008 resolution that allows it to temporarily appoint a former mayor or former council member to serve during a meeting if the body lacked a quorum while a member was on an extended absence. The council can also name a regular member after the opening is advertised.

After a 25-minute discussion on the issue, Steyskal asked City Manager Jay Henry to ask Wilson whether he wants to submit another letter of resignation, opening the process for a possible replacement.

Wilson was appointed to the council in June 2002 and elected in November that year. Councilwoman Teresa Cooke was appointed in August 2008 and elected that November.

Brian Roberts was appointed to the council in January 2009. He resigned in January this year and former Ashland Mayor John Morrison was appointed in March.

Goyette said the way the council intended to make temporary appointments did not appear to follow procedures implementing the 2008 resolution. They call for the appointee to fill the entire absence rather than meeting by meeting, he said.

Goyette ran for a council seat in November 2008 but was defeated by incumbent E.J. McManus. Goyette was given a packet when he conferred with the mayor earlier, but said Wednesday he's uncertain whether he will run in the November election.

Mayor and council seats 1, 3 and 5 are up for election in November.

Steyskal earlier said he would not run for re-election. Bill Cecil, who fills seat 5, has filed to run for mayor. Darby Stricker, a member of the planning and parks commissions and a former councilwoman, has said she plans to run for mayor and has taken an application packet.

Morrison said he would not run for seat 3 when he applied in March. Diane Glendenning has taken out an application. A member of the planning and parks commissions, Glendenning said she was uncertain which seat she will seek.

Application packets for the four-year terms are available at City Hall and the filing deadline is Aug. 24.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

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