After last week’s fiery discussion among the Lincoln City City Council following Mayor Dick Anderson’s resignation, the council has decided to push the decision of how to proceed until the new year.
Toward the end of a nearly five hour city council meeting Dec. 14, mayor Anderson announced that effective immediately, he has resigned from his position.
“As you know, I’ve been elected to State Senate,” Anderson told the council. “I need to clear my calendar to take on that responsibility. So my intention tonight is to resign as mayor with two years remaining on this term.”
Anderson said with the resignation, it allows the council more time to evaluate both options of replacing him: by appointment or through a special election. Anderson thought the announcement would loosen the time frame for someone to file for election if one took place in March of 2021.
However, council found out after the meeting that it is too late for candidates to file for a March election, meaning a May election would be the only option.
Prior to the conclusion of the meeting, council discussed which route they would like to take in filling the vacant position. The deliberation on how to proceed had councilors Riley Hoagland and Mitch Parsons heavily in favor of holding a special election, while councilors Diana Hinton, Rick Mark and Judy Casper remained undecided. Read the full discussion here.
Ultimately, the meeting ended in a motion to hold a special meeting Monday, Dec. 21 to reach a decision.
During the Monday meeting, Casper opened by clearing up some of the confusion the council had been hearing regarding the mayor position. Casper and Mark both stated the mayor position is not the chief administrator of Lincoln City and is one of the seven city leaders that represents the city at large.
Early in discussions, Hoagland presented the option of waiting to make a decision about how to proceed until the new year after the council adds its sixth member, Anne Marie Skinner.
“We now know that there’s no reason to make a decision knowing that the date for filing with the city recorder has passed,” Hoagland said. “Obviously I spoke very strongly about this being an election, but we could include (Anne Marie Skinner).”
Parsons asked council what would happen if the vote was split after adding the sixth member. City Attorney Richard Appicello said if no decision is made, council must “sit in a room and hash it out until you come to a different decision.”
Parsons said he remains in support of holding a special election and Mark said he’d be in favor of that notion.
“I appreciate councilor Hoagland’s point that we could let the new councilor participate, but that is a scary thought that we could be 3-3,” Mark said.
Councilor Hinton then spoke in favor of appointment, but also waiting until January to make a final decision.
“This is a major decision that we are all working towards. I’m leaning towards waiting until January because we should hear (Skinner’s) thinking about a mayor as well as all of us,” Hinton said. “I think that because we have a short term coming up for mayor, that we need someone who’s been tried and tested and someone who has the experience walking in the door. That’s my personal take.”
Casper was also in favor of appointment and said the council has served their individual Wards with the community in mind and were elected to make these kinds of decisions.
“If we should appoint, I know that we would appoint someone that has the qualifications to carry on in this interim position,” Casper said. “We have a lot of unknown things out there right now that we are facing: COVID, fire recovery, I’m sure we are going to have flooding very soon, we need someone who knows what’s going on.”
Parsons then said he felt like the council was contradicting themselves by saying the mayor is just one more vote on this council, but yet he felt they were 'pumping up' how important this pick is. Hoagland agreed with Parsons comments.
“They’re the figurehead of Lincoln City and you say they don’t have any power, but they do have power in that they are what Lincoln City is looked at as… it absolutely is important who that person is,” Hoagland said. “If the five of us pick somebody, I don’t believe the vast majority would be happy with us picking somebody, at all.”
Hinton disagreed with Parsons comments and said they were simply informing the public of the mayor’s role within the city.
“This is an interim position, it is not a full term,” Hinton continued. “We have to take a lot of hard votes and we don’t always agree. I would argue that a new councilor would bring a different perspective and perhaps would bring ideas, thoughts, comments or questions that we haven’t thought about.”
Hinton said it would be ‘rude’ to not to include the new councilor in the decision.
A motion was then made to postpone the discussion until Jan. 11 and make decision at that time. The motion passed 4-1.