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Keeping in touch: Notes from the Mayor

Mayor Lucy VinisThis blog aims to nurture our conversation and understanding of the issues before us. Every week, I will provide a weekly update on the activities in the city government, my activities as mayor, and brief reflections on progress, opportunities and challenges. You are invited to respond with reactions, insights and questions. We do this work together.

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Oct 07

October 7, 2022

Posted on October 7, 2022 at 4:09 PM by Sara McKinney

Although normally Council does not hold meetings on the first week of the month, this week was an exception.  I called a special meeting on Wednesday in order to give council the time to consider and approve their process for appointing a councilor for Ward 7.  The recall election results were certified on Monday, the 3rd, starting the clock on the 90-day timeline to complete that process.

In this meeting, Council chose to follow previous appointment processes, most recently the one used in 2017 when George Poling resigned and Jennifer Yeh was appointed.   It is helpful in this otherwise unprecedented situation to be able to rely on a precedent for this process.  It feels stable, predictable and transparent. They made one change which was to have a standard voting process rather than ranking first and second choices, as they have done previously.  The sense of council was that this was more straightforward and would offer more clarity to the public.

On Thursday, staff opened the process and initiated communications and outreach to spread the word.   Applicants have until November 9th to submit a written application that includes basic information as well as responses to questions about their understanding of Ward 7, key issues for the Ward, and their experience in working with people of diverse perspectives.  Council will review those applications and select candidates for interviews in late November, followed by interviews at Council meetings the first week in December, with voting the following week.

This is challenging in all ways.  It is a very significant, consequential action for councilors to select a colleague; and it is a huge commitment by a community member to step forward for this role.   As a reminder, this is only a six-month appointment, January to July 2023.  During that time, candidates can run for the seat in a May 2023 election.   Whoever wins that election, will hold the seat through the remainder of Claire’s term – to January 2025.  In order to hold the seat for the following full term, the new councilor will have to run again in the May 2024 election.

I am hopeful that we will receive a strong list of candidates.  Councilors were concerned about community engagement in this process.   This is not managed by city staff; the staff role is to be sure that constituents are aware of the process – both for the appointment and the subsequent election.  As with all elections, it is up to community organizations and groups of all kinds to create opportunities to meet candidates.   

The application link is: https://www.eugene-or.gov/537/Mayor-and-City-Council