Sunday blog: Tuesday’s city council appointment was a mixed bag

first_imgCommentary by Tracy McCue — Tuesday, the Wellington City Council found itself in a no-win situation when it chose a replacement for B.J. Tracy, who resigned from the board last month. The council was split, and ultimately the majority chose Bill Butts to represent Wellington in the vacant seat until the spring or fall of 2017 depending when the Kansas Legislature mandates the next municipal election.Cindy AntonichThe debate centered on whether or not to choose in a field of seven applicants candidate Cindy Antonich who received the fourth largest vote total — and highest number of those candidates not elected — in the previous April election. Instead, three of the council members: Kelly Green, Vince Wetta and Kip Etter ultimately went with Butts, who they felt was the best candidate to represent Wellington. Butts did not run for office in 2015.Bill ButtsAs city law is written, those council members did nothing wrong. They did what they were asked to do under the bylaws of city policy. They also did not do anything unusual.On national, state and county levels where there are partisan politics, when elected officials resign or retire in midstream they are replaced by members of their own party. If it’s a Republican official, nobody thinks twice when appointing another Republican. For example, when U.S. Senator Bob Dole resigned to run for U.S. President in 1996, fellow Republican Sheila Frahm replaced him.Frahm did not run against Dole in the previous election in 1992. A Democrat named Gloria O’Dell was his challenger. Was O’Dell appointed because she had the second most votes? No. Was Democrat George McGovern appointed as President when Republican Richard Nixon resigned? Has Sumner County Republicans ever replaced a midstream vacancy with a Democrat?This view that the council has a morale obligation to go with the next candidate vote total especially so soon after an election, may have validity since the city council is non-partisan.But it most certainly is not a requirement. Appointments are not the same as elections. We elect those in office so they can make these kinds of decisions. That is why it so important for you to make an informed vote during an election so you have the right elected official making the right decision.In the Butts vs. Antonich issue, the council can be absolved of any wrong doing.But here is what the council did do wrong…•••••The council did itself no favors by how it conducted the process.After a 15-day application process, the council went over applications at the end of a previous work session and asked candidates to approach them.Two applicants told Sumner Newscow they never got a chance to address or speak to the council. One candidate said he never received an e-mail and for that matter did not know the meeting took place.And if the Wellington City Clerk Shane Shield’s e-mail was the only thing that was used to contact these applicants, there is nothing that indicates that they would be interviewed.When the vote came around at the next public meeting, neither the applicants or the citizens were allowed input, before the vote was taken.As citizen Tom McAlister pointed out, it appeared as if the council was ramrodding this through.What the council should have done is either hold a special meeting, not a work session, or hold the interviews during the regular session on Tuesday.I would have given each candidate a certified letter saying such a meeting will take place, that they would be asked to speak, and invite the media and public at large.The council members should have given each candidate an opportunity to speak for five minutes, follow with a question and answer session, allow input from the audience, before debating amongst themselves and voting. Get the whole meeting taped on Channel 55.If the council would have shown more transparency, they may have avoided much of the ensuing wrath.  I, personally as a voter and city taxpayer, didn’t feel as if I got a chance to learn anything about the seven applicants.  As a reporter, I didn’t make it a priority to attend that work session for which I should have. But I, like at least two of the applicants, must have missed the memo.There is no indication each council member did not invest the time to pick who they thought would be the most deserving council member to serve out Tracy’s term. But that didn’t get conveyed.Maybe, next time.Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (23) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +11 Vote up Vote down Guest · 270 weeks ago One thing good about the outcome, of their decision, if we ever have to go with option three , we now have a couple of council members with experience in that field.. Report Reply 0 replies · active 270 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down Home Town Boy · 270 weeks ago Our new council make up is a joke. Report Reply 2 replies · active 270 weeks ago +8 Vote up Vote down #1 guest · 270 weeks ago Good news Tracy. You hit it dead on. I like that you said something slipped by you . YOU ARE HUMANE? Report Reply 0 replies · active 270 weeks ago -15 Vote up Vote down Sally · 270 weeks ago Roy Eckert is responsible for day to day decisions at city hall and he did a very poor job in the notification of the work session to the applicants for the city council member open position. Report Reply 0 replies · active 270 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down lead don’t follow · 270 weeks ago If you were wanting to be on the counsel why would you not attend a work session. Why would you need to be asked or told? Would it not be advantage to have attended the session so you would be up to speed on what the counsel was working on. You would have been sworn in if appointed so any extra knowledge would only be a plus. Why is it that some feel like they need to have been guided or told to attend. What kind of leader has to be told to be somewhere. Some seek out the opportunity. Tracy you even pointed out you knew about the meeting you just didn’t attend. Report Reply 0 replies · active 270 weeks ago +16 Vote up Vote down David · 270 weeks ago Appointing your own guy over a group of candidates who have just undergone the rigors of a campaign and the discourse of an election process … well, that sort of thing is going to upset people, and especially the voting public. Many of the candidates who “lost” in the election attended many workshops and work sessions along the way. Why should they have to undergo an “interview?” You already know them. Finding loopholes and wording it “best candidate” to justify an appointment does not make it right. Best candidate in whose eyes? The eyes of three. This is the problem. This situation really has a bad scent to it. Report Reply 0 replies · active 270 weeks ago +7 Vote up Vote down Home Town Boy · 270 weeks ago Spot on David thanks for clearing it up for the ignorants in town. Report Reply 0 replies · active 270 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down SuCoPride · 270 weeks ago It sounds to me as this Council should make the confirmation of the appointment process a priority, and make adjustments if necessary. The details should be outlined step by step, including the timeline for applications, those who will conduct interviews, the interview process, and the approval process. When it is clearly outlined, it makes it much more difficult to doubt the process. You still might not like the outcome, but you must be able to stand behind the process. Report Reply 0 replies · active 270 weeks ago -7 Vote up Vote down move on · 270 weeks ago David you are correct there was an election. We as voters voted whom we thought would do the best job. They decided that Mr. Butts would be the best candidate for the position. That is why we elected them. If the other candidates had already had their chance to speak and was interviewed in such a rigorous process then there would not have been a reason for them to be at the work session. The two that did not run were. They picked someone who didn’t run for the position. So now we need to move on and support those we elected to do their job as a city counsel person. Report Reply 0 replies · active 270 weeks ago +9 Vote up Vote down Home Town Boy · 270 weeks ago There is no real representation with out all areas of the city being represented as a whole not with the new process where everyone can come from the same City block or neighborhood. WE seriously need to revamp the voting process over again and have someone from each district on the council so no one/area is left out. Before long all the tax money will be spent in the rich areas/developing areas and the rest of us that are south of the tracks will be fed bread crumbs from the budget. Report Reply 2 replies · active 270 weeks ago 12Next » Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. 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