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Sutton appointed as alderman
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Zach Sutton joined McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday night. He was sworn into office by city recorder Shirley Durham. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Alderman went outside the field of candidates who ran for the seat in filling a vacancy created by the November election. 

“I nominate Zach Sutton to fill the two-year term,” said Vice Mayor Everett Brock.

The board voted 5-1 in favor of Sutton, who was the only nominee. 

Brock drew support from Mayor Ryle Chastain and Aldermen Sally Brock, Rachel Kirby and Steve Harvey. Alderman Stacey Harvey voted against.

“There were eight individuals, if memory serves, that threw themselves out there, got in front of the public to run for office,” said Stacey Harvey. “I do not believe that it’s appropriate to ignore people who actually extended themselves, extended resources and put their personal reputations on the line to favor anyone that did not seem interested enough to pick up qualifying papers or mount a campaign. I believe that to be a personal insult to everyone who cast a vote in this election, no matter who you cast it for. I cannot support that at all.” 

Everett Brock defended his recommendation, adding Sutton is a “very qualified candidate.”

Board members may nominate any individual, as long as that person meets the qualifications to serve and agrees to serve. They are not limited to the field of candidates in any previous election. 

If city officials were bound by previous election results, Jay Medley would automatically be appointed to the seat as the fourth-place finisher. The top three are elected. 

“These are the rules that we are going by,” said Steve Harvey, who spoke in opposition to Stacey. “I understand your point. If we want to change the rules at some point on how these seats are filled, we can. It’s not required that we give the seat to the person who got the fourth most votes. I think Zach would do an excellent job.”

Sutton will fill the vacancy created with the election of Chastain as mayor, leaving his alderman seat open. The seat, which is a four-year term, is set to come up for election in November 2022. 

Sutton was sworn into office by city recorder Shirley Durham immediately after the passing vote.