LINCOLN CITY — No sooner had the Lincoln City City Council filled its vacant Ward 1 seat last week than a second council position opened up for Ward 2 with the departure of Anne Marie Skinner, who resigned from council to be rehired as city planner.
During its Monday evening meeting, the city council decided to fill Skinner’s vacant seat by appointment, a deviation from its usual practice of holding elections to fill empty seats.
The council will need to set a date and solicit letters of interest from residents and qualified electors of Ward 2, after which they’ll conduct interviews and vote on who to appoint. No deadline for letters or date for interviews has yet been set, and the council did not go into detail on what the appointment process would look like.
The choice to appoint a new member was mainly influenced by the council’s desire to be at full force when it starts reviewing city manager candidates within the next few months. The next regular election would be in May 2022, which would also leave a mere six months left on Skinner’s four-year term, set to expire at the end of 2022.
To that same end, the city council chose to hold a special election last week, on Sept. 21, to replace former councilor Diana Hinton, instead of waiting for the upcoming Nov. 2 election. Elaine Starmer won that election and will to be seated in October.
During Monday’s meeting, City Attorney Richard Appicello said he couldn’t remember a time during his eight years with the city when the council last appointed a council member, rather than going through the election process, though members of the council stated they had participated in such an appointment previously, either as councilors or as candidates. Appicello said that was good, as it would provide the council a better framework to work with.
Councilor Judy Casper was the sole dissenter when the council voted to use the appointment process. Despite the circumstances, she felt waiting to hold an election to fill the seat would still be the best option.
Earlier in the meeting, Councilor Mitch Parsons said that while he would have preferred an election as well, he was willing to appoint someone if the council was sure to make the appointment a very public process.
“I think having a new councilor, even in such a limited capacity, to be part of the interview would be most inclusive,” Councilor Riley Hoagland said.
Other notable items from the meeting:
• The council held a public hearing to exempt the Community Center roof replacement project from the usual competitive bidding process, which was later approved.
• The council established a reimbursement district for the Northeast 26th Street area after a sewer main extension project.
• Deborah Johnson was appointed to the Arts Committee, and Michael Edwards was reappointed to the Sustainability Committee.
• The council awarded a $136,950 contract to Richey Wrecking to demolish the city’s former police building.