Umatilla Fine-Tunes Council in Mayoral Absence


Lyle Smith is now the second-in-command for the Umatilla City Council.

The Umatilla City Council voted Smith into the position on Tuesday to help cover the loss of Mayor Pat Lafferty.

In Umatilla, the city council elects a chairman each year, and that president serves as a backup if the mayor is unable to complete any duties, such as leading council meetings. George Fenton sits in that position and agreed to continue the role until a new mayor is elected and takes office. Lafferty died last month after a long battle with cancer.

City Manager Bob Ward suggested the council appoint a vice chairman to support Fenton as the council chairman would typically support the mayor. Two council members – Smith and Mary Dedrick – expressed interest in the position, and Smith was elected.

To further facilitate council leadership and communication, the city is revitalizing its council committees. Ward said the committees have always been part of the council’s organizational structure, but have not consistently been utilized.

“In the absence of a mayor, these committees will help to share the load of council responsibilities until a new mayor is seated,” Ward said.

The committees are:

• Finance Committee – George Fenton and Sharon Farnsworth
• Personnel Committee – Fenton and Mary Dedrick
• Information Technology Committee – Farnsworth and Mel Ray
• Public Works Committee – Ray and Roak TenEyck
• Police Committee – Lyle Smith and Dedrick
• Community Development Committee – TenEyck and Smith

During the meeting, the council also appointed David Lougee to the Planning Commission and approved the preliminary Umatilla Village/Old Town Site Recreation Area Proposal. The council will next meet May 29 for an appeals hearing.

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