Editorial: Kure Beach Council Should Advertise For Applicants To Fill Vacant Council Seat: Same Process Used In 2010

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 11 November 2015 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

On November 4th - the day after Election Day - Kure Beach Town Councilman Steve Pagley submitted his resignation. His employer is relocating him elsewhere in North Carolina.
The Council is currently in transition following Mayor Dean Lambeth's unsuccessful relection bid. Fellow council member Emilie Swearingen won election as Mayor. Councilman David Heglar was relected. Planning Commissioner Joseph Whitley was elected to Council.
Now there's a vacant seat.
Rather than the Council attempting to immediately vote to appoint someone to Pagley's vacant seat which could be a contentious move following the recent Election, the Council should follow the very method recommended by Mayor Lambeth and utilized by the Council in 2010 following the resignation of Tim Fuller.
The Council held a special meeting on Monday September 20, 2010 to consider Fuller's resignation. During that meeting Lambeth said not appointing someone "Is not the prudent thing to do."
He said, "It would be my suggestion that we advertise for the position via the Town's email list for all interested parties to have a list of their interest and qualifications that they feel would be beneficial to the Town and have those back to us no latter than Monday October 4th. At that time I would like Mayor Pro-tem Chuck Keener and myself review them and pick the most qualified, and still have all of the information for all the Council members. Then schedule a special meeting on October 11 at six or six-thirty and have the people interested in serving out this vacancy to appear before council for an interview. Then we could vote on it that night."
They set a deadline of Monday October 4, 2010 for interested parties to apply for appointment to the vacant seat and to interview candidates in an open meeting on October 11, at 6:30PM at Town Hall.  On the issue of thinning the ranks, Lambeth said, "No, we shouldn't do that. We will bring them all. It will be a cattle call."
That's the same process the Council should now use to select someone to fill Pagley's vacant seat. That person would serve the remainder of Pagley's term through 2017 when the seat would be up for election on the ballot at the next municipal election.
The Council shouldn't attempt to fill the vacancy until after Swearingen, Heglar and Whitley take the oath of office at the Council's regularly scheduled December meeting.
Since that meeting is traditionally ceremonial in nature, one would expect the Council to wait to address the issue at their January meeting.
Bit of ironic history: Swearingen was appointed in 2010 to fill Fuller's vacant seat. Then got elected for a four-year term on Council and last week she was elected as Mayor over her opponent; Dean Lambeth.

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