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Editorial: Mayor-Council Appointments Vital In Tough Economy

Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council has seen its ranks decrease from five to three along with the resignation of Town Manager Tim Owens.
Elected officials are chosen by voters through a detailed campaign process. The same should apply in this case.
The remaining three Council members have decided to take applications for those two vacant seats on Council and that's a great idea. However, the interviewing process and ultimate decision should, and legally must, be made in an open meeting. Now the question is, how does the appointment process play out? See the report, " Carolina Beach Council Meets To Discuss Interim Town Manager And Filling Council Vacancies" on page 1-A for an explanation. 
These vacancies need to be filled promptly but carefully with attention to the level of potential applicant business and governmental experience.
The Council plans to make appointments at their December meeting. The very next month they will likely begin the budget planning process without a full-time Town Manager.
Considering the numerous big-ticket financial issues facing the Town amid the current economic times, those who are appointed will be faced with a daunting task of becoming educated on issues and participating in adopting a budget and whether or not to raise property taxes, fees, and selecting the next Town Manager.
Council members Steve Shuttleworth, Sarah Friede and Bob Lewis are about to make one of the most important decisions of their political careers.
The process should not come down to selection based on whether candidates approve or disapprove of a particular list of projects; it should focus on views of budgeting, land use and overall experience. Voters will decide next November if the appointees were a good choice.