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Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:37

Maggie aldermen flip-flop on process for filling vacant board seats

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For the second time this year, a Maggie Valley alderman is resigning from his seat, leaving it up to the rest of the board to pick a replacement. But in what appears to be an about-face from the process used just six months ago, aldermen refused to accept two applications that came in late.

In February, aldermen had five applications in hand at the deadline and chose to extend it.

This time, they had two fewer applicants and decided it was enough.

“It was more of an issue of look, we set a deadline and we need to follow the deadline,” said Town Manager Tim Barth, when asked about the policy change.

Barth polled the remaining four board members on whether to accept the late applications, and the majority favored sticking with the set deadline. That decision wasn’t made in an open meeting.

Alderman Phil Aldridge said he wanted to extend the deadline this time, but was vetoed by other board members.

Philip Wight, who has been critical of the current board, found himself on the wrong side of the shifting rules.

Last time, Wight had applied on time, only to see the deadline extended. This time, Wight didn’t get his in on time, only to learn the deadline honored. Wight has run for office in the past, and came in a close runner-up two years ago.

Wight and June Johnson were both one day late and had their applications rejected.

One of the three applicants who met the deadline — Bill Banks, Michael Matthews and Billy Case — will be picked at the town board meeting this week.

Banks and Matthews will be interviewed before the meeting. Case had a conflict and will be applying on the merits of his application.

Chuck Dickson, the town’s lawyer, said that there’s no set procedure when trying to fill a vacant seat. Consistency in the process from one seat to the next is the board’s prerogative.

In the past, there has been contention among board members over choosing a new person. Aldridge spoke out vehemently against extending the deadline for applications in February, saying that five applications was quite a turnout for small Maggie Valley.

On the agenda for this week’s meeting is a discussion about the process, as well.

The new member will start work at a special called meeting on Oct. 4.

 

Empty seats in Maggie

• Earlier this month, Alderman Scott Pauley left his seat two years ahead of schedule for financial reasons.

• In February, Colin Edwards exited the board over differences of opinion with other members.

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