A lot of people are talking about this process of adjusting the City Government seats in response to the Haynie vacancy. The idea of appointing a temporary council member has gotten lots of locals stirred up. This is because anyone could apply for the position and it’s not determined by election; the Council Members would mutually decide, in theory, on the temporary appointee. Will everyone show up who’s ever dreamed of being on City Council, but knows their chances of getting elected are slim? Will it turn into a goat rodeo?
It took me a bit to understand where we are today, on Friday the 4th of May. This is what I understand the circumstances are but by no means am I saying my interpretation is absolute. If anyone can clarify or add to this understanding in the comments below, please do so.
What about the other seats, the elected term positions that will be up for election? Let’s not forget about those either. Let’s break this down. There are three seats people are talking about now:
The Mayor Seat
This essentially needs to be filled now and it’s only a matter of approval of the details of the August 28th election. Potentially there could be a November election, but there’s still a mandated need for an election overall.Is there anything that could cause the election to be move to November as opposed to August? I don’t know what I don’t know… but read on…
A Council Seat
A Council Member seat opens up if Scott Singer decides to give it up and run for something else. He pretty much solidified this intent today in a campaign statement email. This could be an election held in either August or November depending on upcoming decisions. This is a standard type of election with the exception of the timing. That being said the candidates for it will need to start applying soon.
This next seat is the one that’s least certain to occur but that there’s been the most talk about. It’s got people excited because just about anyone could be picked as a temporary appointee, a Council Member selected by other Council Members, not chosen through election. Everyone is getting ready to throw their name in the hat. There could be a lot of people who step up to do it. The existing Council Members might have to vet a long list of folks; this might turn into some goat rodeo.
The Temporary Council Member Appointee Seat
The likelihood of someone being appointed to this is low. Consider just these two things:
- Since there’s a four member council, an even number of members, there’s a likelihood two members could vote one way and two another. That could lead to a deadlock with no remedy for resolution if the members wanted to stay firm in their choices. Each member could also be firm on their own unique candidate with no means to weigh any one over another: another deadlock but with four candidates instead of two. It’s not clear how rules could be made to prevent this, other than something like a coin flip. What could they do?
- The likelihood is low because of the impracticality of the Appointee having any effectiveness in the position overall even if the person was picked today. There’s a process that new council members have to go through, similar to an on-boarding process a new employee has to go through, that takes time. Add that to the amount of time it’s going to take to approve resolutions to provide for the picking. Then add the vetting process that the volume of applicants will yield. How many sessions would a new appointee be able to actually vote in, if at all?
Aside from the two Council sessions in May there’s only one a month. There’s only meetings on June 12th, July 24th and the fated August 28th. It seems like a lot of work that already busy Council Members would need to do for very little end result. It’s probably more practical to make do with four council members.
So the most likely thing that’s going to happen with this Temporary Seat is that there will be no goat rodeo. It’s just too much work, in this author’s opinion, too much to ask right now among other uncertainties, to require the position to be filled.
Practically the appointee would be toothless only to see their potential usefulness expire with the next election. This is even more likely of not being practical due to the likely timetable of Scott Singer declaring to be Mayor or something else. It could be a more practical seat to fill should the election be postponed until November instead of August, but we don’t know which will occur right now and an August election is looking most likely.
We will know more after the next Council Meeting on May 8th. There’s one guy at the center of it all, the person whose decisions and timing are determining the course of events: Scott Singer. There’s so much uncertainty as what will happen even after he’s decided what he’s going to do.
Do you think it’s likely or practical for the Council to pursue a temporary appointee? What do you think will happen? Share your opinions in the comments below, please.
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