Resigning Milwaukie councilor: 'I must prioritize my health'
On May 4, Councilor Angel Falconer resigned from the Milwaukie City Council, saying she was fighting back tears as she described to fellow councilors how her recent bout with COVID exposed underlying health conditions.
"I must prioritize my health in a way that has not been possible since beginning my service on City Council," Falconer said. "I will miss working with council and staff, but I know that this city is rich with talented and dedicated people who will continue moving Milwaukie forward."
All the city staff and councilors gave Falconer a standing ovation after her resignation speech. Saying it was "deeply saddening" to lose her service as an elected official, Mayor Mark Gamba called Falconer an "extraordinary" member of the community and council, crediting her with the success of the Safe Routes to Schools program.
"Every good thing that we have done in this city, since she has taken office, she has been on the right side of that fight," Gamba said.
Desi Nicodemus, who was the first Black man ever elected to the Milwaukie City Council, credited Falconer with convincing him to run for office in 2020.
"Thank you for talking me into doing this; it's been great to work with you," Nicodemus told Falconer.
Falconer said her proudest accomplishments include building sidewalks to schools, adopting a Climate Action Plan, addressing housing affordability, and centering the city's work around racial equity and justice.
"The work is not done, of course; nor will it ever be," Falconer wrote. "The work has been profoundly rewarding and important, and with the help of family and friends, including past and present councilors, I have managed the busy schedule."
Falconer's resignation sets the stage for a potentially turbulent period in Milwaukie politics, with four out of the five City Council seats up for grabs in November.
Falconer's seat will be up for election on Nov. 8, when the mayoral position and the positions currently held by Councilors Kathy Hyzy and Lisa Batey also will be on the ballot. Due to term limits, Batey will either have to run for mayor, or she'll step down from the council entirely.
A former chair of the Milwaukie Public Safety Advisory Committee, Falconer in 2016 ran unopposed her first term. Facing only a PSU student who failed to submit a Voters' Pamphlet statement on time, Falconer easily won reelection to Position 1 in 2020. Her position's current term started Jan. 1, 2021, and will end Dec. 31, 2024. Two processes are now underway to fill her vacant council position.
Milwaukie is accepting applications through 5 p.m. May 23 for potential candidates for interim appointment to Falconer's seat. The remaining four councilors will hold a special session May 31 to interview applicants.
To appoint an interim council member, three out of the four remaining councilors will have to vote for the chosen candidate. The appointed individual is expected be sworn in at the end of the May 31 special session and run for the November election in a separate process.
On May 10, the City Council acknowledged Falconer's vacant position and called for a special election to fill the position through the end of the current term, ending in December 2024. Whoever is elected to Falconer's vacant seat is expected to be sworn in at the Dec. 20 council meeting.
Council members must be registered to vote in Oregon and must have lived within the city limits for six months prior to election or appointment.
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