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Just a thought - City surprisingly mum about mayor

I believe McMinnville voters should be the ones deciding who will be their mayor for the next two years. However, I’m about to tell you why I believe it probably won’t happen.

Last week, I attempted to poll city aldermen. This is where I send all of them the same question and their answers are published in the paper. This is somewhat easy to do with city government because there are only six aldermen. It’s a little tougher in county government with 24 commissioners.

My question was, “Assuming Jimmy Haley wins his bid for county executive, would you be in favor of the vacancy being placed on the November ballot?”

Usually, I receive a swift reply to my poll questions. This time I did not. It made me begin to wonder why. It’s a simple enough question. To be blunt, it’s either, “Yes, I believe voters should be the ones making the decision on whom will be the next McMinnville mayor” or “No, I do not believe voters should be the ones making the decision on whom will be the next mayor.”

I sent that question out Tuesday. I received only one reply. Odd, given the response to prior polls. Why was I being ignored?

On Wednesday, an alderman was nice enough to enlighten me. According to him or her, the decision has already been made by some members of the city board that Haley will not resign and my question will go unanswered by those on the board who are in on this decision-making loop.

The plot thickens. According to the alderman, an individual has already been handpicked to fill the alderman vacancy when the vice mayor is automatically appointed mayor.

If I had any doubt on what’s going on, it was dispelled a short time later by a second alderman who confirmed what the first one told me.

Here I am on Friday and writing this column. I have yet to receive any more replies to my poll question. More validation of a shameful attempt to prevent voters from selecting their next mayor? I sure hope not, but it’s looking more and more likely.

All this has led me to change my stance. I do not feel we need to decrease the number of county commissioners from 24 to 12. Instead, we need to increase the number of city aldermen from six to 24. While I’d rather not have 24 county commissioners and 24 city aldermen, this situation has made me question the benefits of it.

One of the first steps that would help get McMinnville Mayor on the November ballot would be for Haley, soon to be county executive on Sept. 1, to resign immediately as McMinnville mayor. If I were Haley, I would resign. It would send a swift and decisive message that he’s not in on any collaboration to prevent voters from selecting their next mayor.

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.