Archived Story

Buchanan takes steps in filling mayor’s seat

Published 10:45am Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Niles Daily Star

Buchanan city clerk Gladys Bybee said a decision was made Wednesday by the city commissioners to elect a mayor amongst themselves at the next official meeting, Feb. 22, following the death of Mayor Barbara Clark last week.

The commissioners postponed their regular meeting, originally scheduled for Monday, to Tuesday night in honor of Clark.

The matter of the mayor’s unfortunate vacancy cast a shadow on the revised agenda.
“It’s on the agenda,” City Manager Meg Mullendore confirmed prior to the meeting Tuesday of the need to discuss replacing Clark.

City commissioner Carla Cole, who was elected to the board of commissioners at the same time as Clark, is currently serving as mayor pro tem.

“Unfortunately, you know, I hate having to do it,” Mullendore said. “But we have to, we’re mandated.”

Mullendore said the city has a charter that provides guidelines for operating without a mayor on a temporary basis but not for a sudden and unexpected permanent vacancy.
The city’s attorney, Randy Hyrns of Bittner, Hyrnes, Daly and Riemland, P.C. in St. Joseph, was scheduled to be in attendance Tuesday night to give his opinion on steps the city should take in moving forward.

But with Clark’s death still resonating with former coworkers and members of the community Mullendore said she would only ask for Hyrns’ opinion in the matter.
“I’m not going to make a recommendation,” she’d said.

According to Mullendore, the current charter outlines that typically a mayor pro tem will serve until another is appointed following the general election in November.

Because of the special circumstances, city officials are wondering whether or not they need to proceed along different measures.

In addition to seeking advice regarding the appointment of a new mayor, Mullendore said a vacancy on the board of commissioners would become official.

The commission has 30 days from last night to begin fill the vacancy. Those interested must fill out a citizens volunteer form, citizen questionnaire and a letter of intent, be a resident of the City of Buchanan and live within its corporate limits.

“The commission will interview them in a commission meeting,” Mullendore said before appointing the chosen candidate to the board.

The deadline to fill the seat is March 5 at noon.

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