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Public could not watch applicant interviews; council asks for public's input

PMG FILE PHOTO - The West LInn City Council will soon appoint a fifth member to serve on the council until May's election. On Monday, Feb. 8, the West Linn City Council delayed its decision of who to appoint as an interim city councilor until May's election. The city then opened filings for candidates interested in running in May.

When Mayor Jules Walters was sworn into her new office at the first meeting of 2021, she left behind a council seat with about two years left in the term.

West Linn voters will decide who fills this crucial fifth seat in a special election May 18. In the meantime, however, the council has decided to appoint an interim councilor.

After receiving 10 applications for the interim position, the council was set to discuss and decide who to appoint at its Feb. 8 meeting.

However, because the council's interviews with applicants weren't publicly viewable (as they were planned to be) due to a clerical error, the council decided to give the public more time to learn about the applicants and submit feedback.

City Attorney Tim Ramis told councilors at the meeting that the council had absolute authority to make the appointment and decide what that process should look like. Still, the council decided it would be best to give the public more time for input on the matter.

The council will discuss the appointment again at its next meeting Tuesday, Feb. 16.

According to the city, four of the 10 original applicants were either ineligible or voluntarily withdrew themselves from consideration. The remaining six interim council applicants are: Joan Hallinan, Kim Bria, Miki Mehandjiysky, Peter Mack, Rita Kenny and Todd Jones.

Their applications can be viewed on the city's website: https://westlinnoregon.gov/citycouncil/interim-councilor-appointment-public-feedback.

So far, only one candidate has filed to fill the seat in May's election: Bria.

Bria finished third behind Councilor Mary Baumgardner by only a few hundred votes in the November council election.

The deadline to file for May's election is Monday, March 15.


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