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Councilors prefer more than one applicant and reopen process to allow more time

The Prineville City Council had hoped to appoint a new councilor at its Sept. 26 meeting.

However, after receiving only one application following the withdrawal of a second applicant prior to the meeting, they were faced with either appointing the lone candidate or considering other options.

Prineville City Council Jack Seley announced his resignation from the city council position effective Aug. 31, citing ongoing health issues that he felt would hamper his ability to adequately carry out the duties of the council seat. His term does not conclude until Dec. 31, 2018, so the city council is tasked with appointing a new member to fill his vacancy.

City officials set a deadline of Sept. 15 to file an application for the opening, with the expectation that the council would make their decision at the next business meeting after that date.

However, once that meeting date arrived, Amy Tandy was the only applicant from which to choose. Though they found no fault with the option, councilors were hesitant to appoint her that evening.

"I would like to at least like the opportunity to get to know Amy," said Councilor Jeff Papke, who was one of several expressing the same concern. "I don't feel like I can make a decision right now."

Councilor Steve Uffelman, meanwhile, lamented the fact that only one person had applied, saying he had hoped to choose from a larger field. Other councilors agreed, and the group began to question whether they should extend the application deadline to allow more people to apply.

None of the councilors publicly advocated for a deadline extension.

"Everybody had the same opportunity to get their application in on time, so I don't know how you can justify going out for more applications," Mayor Betty Roppe said. "We made a public notice. We ran it in the paper. Everybody had the opportunity to make application."

The council did not make a formal decision on the deadline, but after more discussion, the group decided to schedule an interview with Tandy to learn more about her beyond the information provided in the application.

One week later, on Wednesday evening, the council held a special meeting to discuss the vacancy further and determine how to proceed. At that session, the council reiterated their desire for more than one applicant, stating that filling an elected role required due diligence on their part.

However, Papke said he wished to conduct an interview and background check on Tandy and not make the applicant wait until another application deadline has passed. The council agreed, feeling that waiting would not be fair to Tandy.

The council, therefore, voted unanimously to extend the deadline for application another two weeks in hope that more candidates for the position will apply. Meanwhile, they plan to schedule an interview with Tandy before the next deadline passes.

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