St. Anthony council appoints Randle to fill vacant seat


Solomon Gustavo • Thomas Randle was sworn in as a St. Anthony City Council member by Mayor Jerry Faust after being appointed Dec. 12. He fills a seat that had been vacant since August.

The St. Anthony City Council seat that was vacant since Bonnie Brever’s resignation in August has been filled by Thomas Randle. 

Randle will serve the rest of Brever’s term, which expires at the end of 2019.

Randle was appointed by the council and sworn in by Mayor Jerry Faust at the Dec. 12 council meeting. 

“I’m happy to be appointed,” said Randle.”I think I can be an asset to the city. I think this is a good first step in moving us forward.”

Randle, Bibi Neumann and Nancy Robinett were interviewed by the city council in public interviews held at City Hall on Dec. 8. Both Randle and Robinett ran in the Nov. 7 city council election, which was won by incumbent council members Randy Stille and Jan Jenson. Robinett lost to Jenson by only 18 votes.

Robinett said she had great support and that she showed that in her application, but she respects the council’s right to appoint who they choose. Neumann, who’d applied for the city Planning Commission before applying for the council, was appointed to the commission. She said she was happy with the outcome.

Before their decision during the Dec. 12 meeting, council members spoke about the interviews and who they personally supported. The council split three to one in support of Randle, with council member Hal Gray supporting Neumann. 

A motion was made to pass a resolution appointing Randle to the council, and it passed unanimously. 

Election impact

With Brever’s resignation, the council had the option to leave her seat vacant, fill it by special election or fill it by appointment. 

At a post-Election Day meeting, the council chose to appoint its newest member through an application and interview process. At the same meeting, a speaker addressing the council during the community forum suggested appointing Robinett outright because she had lost the Nov. 7 election by such a slim margin.

Robinett received 22.9 percent of the vote, trailing Jenson’s 23.3 percent. Randle won just 4 percent of the vote.

Just as Faust was bringing the council to finalize Randleís appointment, Stille began to talk about how much impact election results had in his thinking before being interrupted by the crowd.

“Yes, there were 18 votes separating second and third place. But to take that data and say ‘we need to act on that,’ I find that flawed. I find that flawed because ...” Stille said, trailing off as a few people in the audience began laughing and making other noise. 

“Maybe you’re giving them too much credit,” Faust said to Stille. 

Said Stille, “Nevermind.” 

“This is exactly the problem,” Gray said.

As council members expressed support for everyone but Robinett before their vote, Andrea Edwards, who was at the meeting, shook her head in disapproval. 

Edwards, who has lived in St. Anthony for two years, said she voted for Robinett and Stille. 

“I would have been interested in hearing what Stille had to say about the vote and why that didn’t matter,” she said.

Dave Odde, a St. Anthony resident since 2000, said he was a little surprised and disappointed that Robinett was not appointed. 

“I guess something happened in the interview process that was different than what the villagers saw when they voted,” he said. 

Odde also congratulated Randle. “I want the best for our community,” he said. “I believe Thomas Randle wants that, too.”

 

Council discussion

Gray, who supported Neumann, said he heard two ways the applicants would make changes in the interviews. One was building relationships, the other way was through agitation. “I’ve had enough agitating to last me for a while,” said Gray, adding that Neumann would bring people together.

Stille said Randle is a consensus builder who is realistic about what he wants. “You know where he stands,” Stille said.

Jenson said that when it comes to programs like Government Awareness of Racial Equity and Community Oriented Policing Services, Randle would best represent his — as in Jenson’s — views. Faust said he wants the new council member to have the ability to “listen and hear” and that Randle “has those.”

With the completion of their brief statements, the council appointed Randle. 

After being sworn in, Randle walked over and sat down in the empty council seat. There were a few more items of council business, but Randle did not participate. 

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted Andrea Edwards. She did not say she thinks Nancy Robinett wasn’t appointed because she “might not be the easiest to work with,” or that the appointment of Thomas Randle is a sign the council is willing to listen to different viewpoints. 


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

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