There are a great deal of rumors flying around about who will be appointed to fill out the remainder of Cathy Lehman's term on the City Council. The basics are: the person is chosen by the council in Dec/Jan, they will serve from January till the end of 2015. During this time, they will almost immediately have to start running for reelection, since that seat is up in November of 2015. The council must come to an agreement within 30 days or the mayor will get to make the appointment.
When I asked the council members what they are looking for in a candidate, most said variations on the same themes. "Independent thinker," "ready from day one" and "willing to ask questions." The council has grappled with how to best provide oversight for the strong mayor's office - a fact of which the council members are very aware. However, most of the people I spoke with said that appointing a "caretaker" to the position, someone who would merely fill out the last year and not run for reelection, is very unlikely.
Gender is also brought up as a key factor. With the total number of women on the council dwindling to two, many political movers and shakers I spoke with expressed an interest in appointing a qualified and capable woman to maintain some semblance of balance.
When it comes to naming names, the councilmembers themselves have been rather tight-lipped about who is interested, although most agreed that they would rather come to an agreement rather than have the decision default to Mayor Linville.
Working with my friend and fellow blogger John Servais of NWCitizen, I have compiled a list of some of the rumored candidates. I generally try to avoid rumors and speculation on this blog but because of the nature of this appointment, I believe these smoky room discussions should be dragged into the light.
Without further ado, here are some of the people we have heard mentioned as potential candidates for Lehman's seat:
Update of additional names:
Now some of you may be going, "Waitaminute Riley, those people don't all live in the 3rd Ward!" That's because the most likely person to be appointed to Lehman's seat in the 3rd Ward is . . . Roxanne Murphy, currently serving as the "At-Large" representative. Murphy actually lives in the 3rd Ward and would be eager not to run for reelection every two years. This would allow the council to draw from a larger pool of potential applicants for the appointment.
Servais here. The above was written by Riley and he covered it well. Over the past few weeks we have both reached out to political players to learn who is in the running. The nature of political reporting is that the sources are strictly the politicians and operatives who purposely give out false info in hopes of advancing their cause, as well as giving out true information but only to those who might futher the cause. Political watching is not a verifiable process and we all need to take this information with a touch of skepticism.
We share a desire to inform the public so more citizens can participate in the process. With this information you can ask specific questions of your council reps and express your approval or concern about specific possible appointees. More citizens can participate - and that is something the powerful local political operatives do not want as it weakens their power. We run our websites to inform citizens and voters.
There may be other people being considered. If you hear of someone, let one of us know and we will check it out. This appointment is very important to City Council decisions in 2015. Over the next two years we will probably see at least 3 and possibly 4 council seats change. Our council is facing a time of more quick changes than at any time in the past several decades. All six remaining council members have an obligation to listen to the hopes and concerns of any citizen on this issue of appointing a 7th council member. This is a city-wide issue, not just a 3rd Ward issue. This is not just for the six council members to quietly form a secret concensus and drop it on us on January 5. And so Riley and I bring you this information.
Let us not be surprised on January 5. This appointment will be someone who is supposed to represent all of us. Share what you may know with us.