The City Council finally filled the Northwest District vacancy last night with the appointment of Dean Karsky. I find it interesting that the two qualifications that pushed him to the winner's circle was the fact that he ran for the seat twice and lost and that he had been coming to Council meetings and committee meetings for the last 4 months.
I am not sure what qualifications the City Council should have considered when filling the vacancy. Actually, you don't have to have any qualifications for either a council seat or the mayor's position. There are no minimum qualifications for those jobs. One just needs to appeal to the citizens who vote and convince them they are the right person for the job.
Personally, I don't like the fact that 7 elected officials get to choose their fellow councilors. It totally leaves the voters disenfranchised from the process. Maybe I would feel better if I knew how many people sent their council representatives a note or email saying who they supported and the council voted based on those constituent numbers instead of knowing that these 7 councilors just got to dictate who will become an "incumbent" in the next election.
When a city council vacancy occurs mid-term, I think there should be an election. I don't think existing council people should anoint someone which makes them an incumbent which normally assures the person the next election. I think if the council doesn't want to hold an election, then they should appoint someone who has no interest in serving in the vacant seat in the next election.
Remember when the City Commission needed to fill Commissioner Anderson's seat upon his death in office? They filled it with Sylvia Henkin. She served with distinction and served with the clear understanding that she was not interested in running for the seat at the next election. That way, everyone running a campaign at the next election started on equal footing.
I am not sure why the mayor said they were "blessed" to have Karsky on the City Council. Happy maybe, pleased, maybe, but blessed? Blessed as defined in the dictionary means: held in reverence, bringing pleasure, contentment or good fortune. I would hardly call Karsky's appointment a blessed event.
I don't know Dean Karsky. He is obviously motivated to be on the city council. After 4 months attending meetings, although he has a personal preference he still doesn't want to state his position on the location of the event center. When asked what the important issues facing the city are he said the 3 city contracts coming up this year. I guess no one told him he wouldn't be involved in negotiating those contracts. He is interested in seeing the NW Branch Library being completed in the future. He was asked what big moves were coming up and he said just mundane day to day actions at the part-time city council level.
I wish him well. I just wish he didn't get there through the back door. I wish he had been elected the good old fashioned way, by his constituents.