Still no mayor in Keystone Heights

Kile Brewer
Posted 11/21/17

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – After a 4-0 vote, the Keystone Heights City Council will again start taking applications for the Mayor’s seat after two unsuccessful attempts.

Former mayor Tony Brown …

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Still no mayor in Keystone Heights

Posted

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – After a 4-0 vote, the Keystone Heights City Council will again start taking applications for the Mayor’s seat after two unsuccessful attempts.

Former mayor Tony Brown announced his retirement on August 7 at the end of that day’s council meeting. Since that resignation the vice mayor, Steve Hart, stepped in to serve as acting mayor while they began accepting applications for someone who could fill the position according to the standards of the council.

In the two months that followed the city attempted to garner applications, and after two deadlines had passed they received only two. Those two potential candidates were interviewed by members of the council, but neither of the two are still being considered active applicants to the position.

During Monday’s meeting, council members Marion Kelly and Steve Brown proposed that they wait until the April 2018 Super Tuesday election to decide who will sit in the mayor’s seat, as that election will ultimately determine who will carry out the two remaining years of former mayor Brown’s term.

“If we want to wait until [the next election], could we extend the application period until the last day of qualifying for those [open] seats?” Brown said.

They were immediately advised by City Attorney Rich Komando that this was not an acceptable alternative due to wording in the city charter. He noted that the charter does not specifically outline the process for this type of situation, but it does require the council to actively seek a replacement for the mayor in the interim before the next election.

“Understanding what the spirit of the charter would be, I suggest you review this at every meeting until you find a replacement,” Kommando said. “I don’t know that your charter allows you to just wait for the election. I think you have to take some action.”

Despite the passing of the deadline, the city received a third application on Sunday, November 19, from former Planning and Zoning board member Bill Dixon who has resigned his position on that board in advance of his candidacy. This application was deemed valid Monday evening after the unanimous vote to open up the application process again to suit the charter.

“Our hands are tied by our charter, the way it is written,” said council member Dan Lewandowski before voting to extend the application deadline. “I want to thank you, Mr. Hart, for serving as mayor, I think you have done a great job, and I think that as vice mayor, we should’ve written in the charter that you just become mayor.”

Acting Mayor Hart laughed and mentioned that maybe this is something to bring up with the charter review committee.

“In fairness to everyone that has shown an interest or might show an interest, I think the wise approach here is to reopen the process,” Hart said.

Anyone interested in applying to the position of mayor is invited to submit applications to city hall between now and December 1. The council will hold mayoral interviews again at their December 4 meeting, which will begin earlier in the afternoon at 4:30.

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