ST. GEORGE – This week the St. George City Council will hear from the 25 people who have applied to fill the council seat vacated by Jon Pike, newly elected mayor. The applicants will be given at least three minutes each to address the council during a public meeting Thursday. If all goes as expected, the council will vote that night and appoint a new city council member.
In last week’s City Council work meeting, Pike said he and council members were each given packets containing copies of the applicants’ applications, resumés, references and associated documents. “I charged the council to pore over those,” he said.
In order to make the process fair to all, Pike said he also instructed council members not to have contact with applicants prior to the upcoming council meeting. However, friends and references of the applicants are free to contact the mayor and council, he said.
Everything will be done publicly, Pike said. There will be no closed-door dealings or discussions regarding the applicants, he said.
Among the 25 applicants are former council candidates Greg Aldred, Ed Baca, Tara Dunn, and Greg Whitehead. Dunn came in third in the general election last year, after Michele Randall and Joe Bowcutt. Though Baca came in fourth place, he and Dunn were virtually tied with only an 8-vote difference between them.
There has been a question among the public as to why the council simply doesn’t appoint Dunn or Baca to the position, as they were the next-in-line according to votes gained in the November 2013 elections.
Pike said the municipal elections and the council appointment are separate processes, so one may not necessarily influence the outcome of the other. However, should the council see fit to vote based by votes gained in the last election, then that is how they will vote, he said.
“We’ve been working hard to do this in harmony with state law,” Pike said. He said the state law outlining city council appointments is vague in parts. As far as the possibility of simply appointing a candidate who came in third? “The law doesn’t even address it,” he said.
As for how the appointment will be voted upon, Pike said the current members of the council, Randall, Bowcutt, Gil Almquist and Jimmie Hughes, will cast paper ballots. Whoever gains the majority is appointed. However, with as many applicants as there are, additional votes may be required until that majority is reached, Pike said.
If necessary, Pike does have the option of casting a vote in order to break a tie. However, it is not a possibility he is looking forward to.
“It would be a gut-wrenching possibility,” he said, as he knows most of the people applying for his old council seat.
In the end however, a choice will need to be made, and the end result isn’t likely to please everyone.
“We’re only going to make one person and one group of people happy,” Pike said.
The council should have sufficient information to cast a vote and choose who will fill the vacated council seat that evening, Pike said. If that does not happen for whatever reason, however, state law allows the council 30 days to make a choice. At the end of 30 days an applicant must be appointed to the position.
Although only one person will be chosen, Pike said that the city is fortunate to have so many people interested in serving. Some of the applicants may find themselves asked to serve on one of the city’s new committees, he said.
As to rumors that the City Council has already made up its mind on who will be appointed, Pike said: “That’s just not true.”
City Council applicants
|Diane Adams||Greg Aldred|
|Bette Arial||Maureen Booth|
|Edward Baca||Brendan Dalley|
|LaRene Cox||Brent Gardner|
|Tara Dunn||Kellee Hindes|
|Craig Hammer||Todd Jones|
|Paul Iverson||Christine Leishman Nelson|
|Susi Lafaele||Gregg McArthur|
|MaryNell Lundquist||Lane Ronnow|
|Daniel Olsen||Doug Solstad|
|Brandon Seegmiller||Marc Stallings|
|Todd Staheli||Greg Whitehead|
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