An agenda item did not go as plan at Tuesday night’s Guthrie city council meeting. The somewhat confusing item will keep open a city council seat.
The council voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Ward 2 council member Chuck Burtcher. Related article: Council to consider two applicants for vacant city council seat
The next agenda item, which reads as follows “Discussion and possible action to appoint an individual, effective August 6, 2019, to fill the vacant Ward II GPWA Trustee & City Council position for the term ending May 2023. Note – Applicant(s) to date – Brian Bothroyd & Lynn Bilodeau. If additional applications are received they will be distributed to the City Council on August 6th.”
Instead of reading the above agenda item, Mayor Steve Gentling said, “Item number four, given that we do have a resignation I would entertain a motion that we move in the process that we have followed in the past on a resignation.” Council member James Long quickly stated “I would like to” and that is when he was interrupted by council member Gaylord Z. Thomas who said “so move” on the motion.
Council members Jeff Taylor and Jim Case in unison replied “second.”
During discussion of the item, member Don Channel asked, “where is this process been that fits into the charter rules?”
Gentling replied, “It’s on the charter. It’s what we’ve always done in the past.”
Gentling explained the method of a nomination committee, which has been comprised of the mayor, vice mayor and the other council member representative in that ward, and that the council nominee is then presented to the council for a vote.
Channel began to read the charter “If a vacancy occurs in the office of Councilman, the City Council shall select, by an affirmative vote of at least four (4) members, an eligible person to fill the vacancy at the next regular meeting of the City Council.”
Gentling said, “keep reading. Keep reading.”
Channel finished reading the ordinance, “following the creation of the vacancy or as soon thereafter as is practical.”
Gentling replied, “okay, so this will be soon and practical.”
Channel responded, “no practical is right now.”
Long shared, “I think it was a little unfair how you just read out the agenda item and just assumed we would make the motion. (The agenda) doesn’t read that way on the actual packet itself.”
The mayor responded, “okay, so noted. I have a motion and a second. Any other discussion? Submit your votes.”
The final vote was 4-2 with Gentling, Taylor, Thomas and Case voting yes, while Long and Channel voted no.