The vacant seat on McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen will likely be filled during its next regular session Sept. 25.
Mayor Ben Newman made that announcement during the last regular meeting.
“Next meeting I’d like to discuss, and likely fill, the vacant alderman position,” said Newman. “I’ve individually talked to board members and just asked that if you have somebody in mind, someone who has approached you and you think they would be a good candidate, please let the other aldermen know. Don’t come to a consensus, but let them know so we have a chance to talk to that person.”
Newman says he will allow each alderman to nominate one individual and names will be placed in a random draw to be voted on in that order.
“If we don’t elect the first person, we will move down to the second,” Newman said.
Alderman Everett Brock made a request last month that all prospective individuals be questioned in an open meeting as a way to shed light on the selection process.
“Are we still not going to interview these people?” asked Brock.
Newman stated, “I think talking to people in private you will get more candid responses to some of the questions we have. I don’t want to subject people to a firestorm of questions in front of everybody. This isn’t an election by the general public. The general public elected us to make this decision and I think one-on-one interviews with potential candidates is a very good way to do it.”
Alderman Steve Harvey agreed with the process as outlined by the mayor.
“I almost feel like you might drive people away if you got them up here in front of everybody and asked them question after question,” said Harvey. “I would be a little intimidated by that. I’ll be honest.”
Brock stated, “This is what we do every day, every meeting. We’re subject to the public and to the newspaper. If they are going to get intimidated, the job’s not for them.”
Alderman Kate Alsbrook said she has spoken to the candidates given to her and she’s satisfied with the process.
Alderman Mike Neal said he’d like to make sure the individuals are independent and not selected because they agreed to support a current board member’s future endeavors.
“I have no problem with doing the interviews, asking questions and seeing their demeanor,” said Neal. “I’d like to hear their thoughts and make sure they are independent and not pushing somebody else’s agenda – that’s the main thing. I have no problem with it at all.”
Meetings are held on the second floor of city hall. Board meetings begin at 7 p.m.