Barriger's Empty Seat Should Be Filled Fairly



The recently announced resignation by Councilman Barriger, in the midst of a hotly contested election race for seats on the town council, presents some interesting, if not controversial, questions as to how his position should be replaced. Should it be replaced by the results of the general election, or by council appointment? The resignation is effective May 1, while the voting of the general election ends on May 15, and the successful candidates for council and mayor are installed on June 8.

If legally permissible, the candidate with the fourth largest vote count in the general election could be offered the remaining two-year term of the vacated office.

This approach would be the most democratic, allowing the "people" to choose within the list of validated candidates.

If by council appointment, the new town council installed on June 8 should be allowed to present a candidate and vote accordingly. This makes sense as this council must work with the new member over the next two years.

Meanwhile, three, and perhaps four, members will no longer be on the town council after June 8, and should withdraw themselves from voting in favor of allowing the new council to vote on this matter.

The mayor has already announced her support to appoint Jon Barber to the council seat, who was the unsuccessful candidate for mayor in the primary election. Some outgoing council members are also poised to support him.

Why? Is Mayor Brewer trying to capture his votes to gain an advantage in the general election?

If acted upon, are these actions by the mayor and outgoing council members ethically acceptable? You be the judge?

Jim Hippel, Payson

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