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Council talks vacancy

Sat., Jan. 29, 2011

Dempsey alternate must be appointed in 90 days

Members of the Spokane Valley City Council discussed how to fill a hole in their ranks during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Councilwoman Rose Dempsey resigned on Jan. 21 and the council has 90 days to appoint a replacement. City Manager Mike Jackson outlined a tentative schedule for accepting applications, conducting interviews and making the appointment. “We followed a similar process back in 2009 when we had a vacancy and it worked rather well,” he said.

The proposed schedule includes advertising for applications during the month of February, with the application deadline set for 4 p.m. on March 4. On March 9 the council would hold an executive session to review applications. Executive sessions are closed to the public. The council would then vote during that night’s council meeting on which applicants to interview.

Applicant interviews are tentatively scheduled for the March 22 council meeting. Council members can each submit questions they would like to ask the candidates and each interview will be a maximum of 30 minutes. “The law does require that the interviews happen in open public session,” Jackson said.

After another executive session the schedule calls for the council to vote during the March 29 council meeting on who to appoint to the vacant seat. Whoever is selected will be immediately sworn in and will serve the remainder of Dempsey’s term, which is up in November. That person will have to run for re-election to keep the seat past November.

There seemed to be no concerns about the proposal. “I like it,” Councilman Bill Gothmann said of the schedule. “I think it looks great.”

“That worked well last time,” said Councilman Gary Schimmels.

The council is scheduled to vote on a motion to approve the schedule and procedure during the Feb. 1 council meeting. The city will begin accepting applications after the motion is approved.

During Tuesday’s meeting both Gothmann and Mayor Tom Towey expressed their appreciation for Dempsey.

“I sincerely appreciate her service,” said Gothmann. “It think she brought a humanness to the council.” She was a good listener, very polite and was always willing to give input on issues that affected citizens with disabilities, he said.

“I knew Rose for quite a while,” Towey said. “We need people like Rose. She was very dedicated to this council and our city. I will miss her.”

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