COLLEGE PLACE — A couple of moving experiences have left the City Council with two vacancies to fill.
Two council members, Steve Dickerson and David Beamer, submitted their resignations Monday because they have both recently moved out of the city.
The departures sparked a discussion by remaining council members about how to fill the vacancies, a situation complicated by the fact that Dickerson’s seat is up for election this year.
Beamer’s seat will not be up for election until 2015.
While council members resolved to put the replacement process for both seats in motion this week by advertising for applications.
City Administrator Pat Reay said the council has 90 days to fill both positions. If the council cannot agree on replacements, Walla Walla County commissioners will make the appointments.
In the past, applicants for vacant council seats were interviewed by council members at a scheduled meeting and a replacement was then chosen.
Council members agreed Monday that if a large number of people put in for the positions, an ad hoc committee could be formed to screen applicants and recommend a short list of candidates to the council for interviews.
City Attorney Charles Phillips told council members that when two positions become vacant, the first appointed person will participate in selecting the second person to fill the remaining vacancy.
Dave Valiant, county election supervisor, said whoever is appointed to Dickerson’s seat would serve out the remainder of his term, which expires at the end of December.
If the person appointed also files for election this week and wins, he or she would then serve the full four-year term.
But, asked councilwoman Marge Nyhagen, “What happens if no one files?”
In that case, Valiant said, a special three-day filing period would be opened from May 20 through May 22 to allow people to file for that position.
But if no one files during that time, the position would be taken off the November ballot and no write-in candidacies would be allowed.
Whomever is appointed to Beamer’s seat would serve the remainder of his term, which expires at the end of 2015. Then whomever is elected that year would serve a four-year term, Valiant said.
Phillips said the remaining council members, William Jenkins, Alexander Scott, Nyhagen, Bernie Yanke, Larry Dickerson and Mayor Rick Newby will still be able to conduct city business until the vacancies are filled.
Andy Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8318.