What to Do with Anderson's Council Seat?

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[quote style=”2″]Council Debates How to Fill Out Remainder of Term[/quote]

George Anderson caught the entire Hermiston City Council by surprise two weeks ago when he announced he was immediately resigning from the council.

His announcement came after the meeting had been gaveled to a close, so the council formally accepted his resignation at Monday night’s meeting and discussed how to proceed to fill his seat.

George Anderson
George Anderson
“This is a bit of an unusual circumstance,” said Hermiston City Manager Ed Brookshier. Anderson’s term isn’t up until the end of the year. He announced at the beginning of the year that he would not seek another term. In May, Clara B. Fitzgerald was elected to Anderson’s seat, but her term won’t begin until January 2015.

“This has never happened before,” Brookshier said.

Anderson said he resigned because he wanted to spend more time with his family. He said the council had addressed many of the big issues facing it, such as selecting a new city manager, and that he was confident Fitzgerald would serve effectively in his seat.

Council rules call for the city to announce a vacancy on the council and interview applicants for the seat. A three-person committee then interviews the applicants and makes a recommendation to the council at large.

Brookshier floated the idea of amending the rules in order to appoint Fitzgerald to finish out Anderson’s term. Councilor John Kirwan asked if there was anything the rules that prevented the council from leaving the seat vacant until Fitzgerald’s term begins in January.

“You can’t just sit on it,” said City Attorney Gary Luisi. “You have to proceed at a reasonable pace.

In the end, however, the council decided to follow council rules and advertise the opening, interview applicants, and choose one to fill out final five months of Anderson’s term. Fitzgerald can apply for the position if she chooses.

Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann thanked Anderson for his time and service on the council.

“He came on during a turbulent time and helped calm the waters,” Drotzmann said. “I’m sure he’ll still participate on the scene as he has in the past.”

Councilor Manuel Gutierrez also thanked Anderson for his role as council representative to the Hispanic Advisory Council.

“He’s helped us a lot on the committee as well as with Cinco de Mayo,” Gutierrez said.

Anyone interested in filling out the remainder of Anderson’s term can submit a letter of application to Hermiston City Hall no later than 5 p.m., Aug. 1.

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