Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

August 29, 2013

Council eyes open seat

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — This year seems to be a time of change for the Pauls Valley City Council as three different individuals, due to election or personal reasons, have held the position of mayor and leaves four current councilmen currently searching for a fifth member.

Hoping to move the process along, Councilman Hal Blevins brought the open seat on the governing body up at the end of Tuesday’s meeting with the idea that the people should vote for an individual through an election.

He suggested this as an alternative to someone being appointed by them, which is the case since the seat, formerly held by Billy Riddle, has a term still running until March 2015.

“I’m in favor of all of us sitting up here being elected by the public,” said Blevins, noting how the catch would be applying for a special election by Sept. 12 if this were the decision.

“We sit here at the pleasure of the public … and I’m not saying there are not good men that are appointed, it’s expedient, but… I think it’s a cyclical part of democracy. If you want to serve the public you’re responsible to the voters.”

City Manager James Frizell noted that it was up to council whether they want it on the agenda to read that way and noted if they do there would still be time for a special election if they decided to go for one on is Sept. 10 during the next city council meeting. Following that it could be presented to the election board on Sept. 11 and City Attorney Jay Carlton then noted the election would be held in November.

“Hal I don’t disagree with your opinion, your thought process,” Councilman Patrick Grimmett said in response to how he felt about the issue.

“I just feel I’d rather appoint someone, follow the tradition.”

In any case, the issue will appear on the next city council meeting for discussion whether members decide to appoint someone at that time or go the election route.

This meeting is also expected to include mention of whether or not to pursue putting the hospital sales tax measure on the November ballot.

Carlton once again gave a reminder that if someone is not appointed in the 60 days since the seat was vacated, there would be an election for it regardless.

“We’ve had some names come in, but there’s a lot of things we have to check out,” said Mayor Gary Alfred when asked about where they might be in the selection process. “If we want to appoint someone, A, they have to live in the city limits.”

Additionally, the evening meeting included the selection of a new vice mayor through current council member Jocelyn Rushing, also a suggestion by Blevins. The vote ended 4-0 in favor of her taking on the role.