St. Anthony council will fill open seat by appointment

The St. Anthony City Council directed City Manager Mark Casey to draw up an application for the council’s  vacant seat at its Nov. 14 meeting. 

Casey said he’d have something up on the city website by the end of Nov. 17 with the hope of appointing someone at the Dec. 12 council meeting. 

The decision to appoint someone to the open council seat, which was created by Bonnie Brever’s August resignation, came at the end of the meeting after multiple people asked about the seat during the community forum portion of the meeting

Casey said the council had not talked about Brever’s seat up until that point, and Mayor Jerry Faust said he felt it seemed inappropriate to talk about the open seat prior to the Nov. 7 council election. 

Brever resigned effective Aug. 18. The timeing of her departure, after candidate filing had closed for the 2017 election, allowed the city to weigh its options in filling the seat — had she resigned prior to Aug. 1, the city would have been required to hold a special election. 

 

Taking applications

When it comes to open positions, be it on the council or for other city staff positions, Faust said St. Anthony “always had an application process” during his nearly 13 years as mayor. Brever herself was appointed to the city council after the January 2015 resignation of Jim Roth — the coucnil interviewed nine candidates that time around. 

Faust did say he is unsure of how to handle releasing the names of applicants, noting that he does not recall the city ever doing so. “Almost seems like an HR issue at some point,” said Faust, later adding that “some people might not want their name” made public. 

Council member Randy Stille did point out that Faust was elected by a special election in December of 2004, but said he is in favor of an appointment for Brever’s seat. Stille said a conference for newly elected leaders held by the League of Minnesota Cities in January is crucial for understanding exactly what the city council role entails. 

Brever, in her resignation letter, mentioned the large responsibility that come with a city council position, saying that the job “requires a tremendous commitment of time and energy.” Any special election would be held after the League conference. 

“I was here when Brever was interviewed” said council member Jan Jenson, saying that interviewing multiple candidates gave the council a good idea of each applicant’s sincerity and that he thought it was a “transparent process.”

“It’ll be open to the public. We’ll give everyone a chance to apply,” said Stille. “I have no idea who those people might be.”

 

Public suggestion

During the community forum that preceded the freewheeling conversation between council members, speakers voiced concern about city council diversity and appointment process transparency. 

Speakers also had suggestions for how to fill the empty seat, such as appointing someone from among the losers of the Nov. 7 election. Another speaker specifically recommended appointing council candidate Nancy Robinett. The speaker said Robinett deserves the appointment because she narrowly lost the election by just 18 votes, she’s qualified and would add a new perspective to the council.

Because of the slim margin of her loss, Robinett requested a recount, which was carried out the morning of Nov. 17. The election results held, and the 18 vote margin of loss remained.

In the end, Faust, speaking on behalf of the council, asked Casey to begin the application process for appointing Brever’s replacement.


 

– Solomon Gustavo can be reached at sgustavo@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815. 

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