A vote was held Monday night to appoint a new alderman to fill the Ward 2 positions vacated by Brian Lambeth. After three people voiced interest in the position, St. James alderman were tasked with appointing someone to post. Ultimately, the mayor had to break a tie to fill the vacated seat.
Former alderman Jim White, Greg Edwards, and Mitch Weatherly expressed interest in the position, with White and Edwards attending Monday night’s meeting. Alderman Alan Sachs moved to appoint Edwards to the position, with Alderman Lowell Tonding giving a second.
“My reason for saying Mr. Edwards here is because he is new blood. It would be nice to have someone a little younger,” Sachs explained. Since the motion had a second, a vote was called, which became troubling to some on the council.
“I don’t like this at all. I think it is in very poor taste,” councilwoman Danielle Verkmap said. Don Moore agreed with her, expressing his uneasiness to have such a discussion with two of the possible appointees in the room.
It was an issue that must be done in open session, however. Sachs, Tonding, and Josh Cahill voted for Edwards, while Verkamp, Moore, and Mag Roberts voted against. What made things difficult, however, was when the final member Dave Watkins chose to abstain.
“I have a business relationship with both men,” Watkins told the council. Several other council members argued that point could be made for most of them as most had worked with White and Edwards in the past.
After a heated discussion, it was up to Mayor Dennis Wilson to break the tie. Wilson chose to vote against the motion for Edwards. Wilson told Edwards that, while he has enjoyed working with him in the past, the position would be temporary, ending during the April election.
White has been a part of the council for many years and is, for the most part, up to date with the many projects being conducted by the city and could easily fill in until the election. He added that, should Edwards want to, he could run for election next spring.
A second vote was held in to appoint White and that again split the council forcing Wilson to once again select the tiebreaker. He voted in favor of White, who will now serve as Ward 2 alderman.