Web update: Dunsmuir City Council rejects all candidates for open council seat

Richard DuPertuis

The Dunsmuir City Council eliminated all three candidates for the open council seat Tuesday night, calling for a new round of letters of interest from the public. Candidates for the seat will be interviewed in session during a special meeting scheduled for March 14.

This decision came after candidates Dick Kelby, Leslie Wilde and Dave Edmondson fielded questions from councilors for an hour and a half on Feb. 26.

City councilor Ed Steele nominated Wilde, councilor Dave Keisler seconded. City Council members Nick Mitchell and Mayor Chris Raine expressed concerns about having Wilde on the council, and the motion failed.

Mitchell nominated Kelby, but there was no second. He nominated Edmondson, and again there was no second.

Keisler said that because the departing councilor was a woman, he preferred to fill the seat with a woman. Diane Dolf resigned from the council effective Jan. 28, after relocating outside of city limits.

City manager Brenda Bains said one option the councilors had to fill the seat was to call for a special election in November. She said this would cost the city $8,000 to $10,000, less if another party also called a special election, in which case the parties would split the cost. She said that since Dolf resigned on Jan. 28, the councilors had to appoint or call for an election by March 28.

Bains also suggested a timeline for a second round of interviews, soliciting letters of interest by newspaper ad March 6, and holding a special meeting before the regular meeting March 21. In addition to any new candidates that might apply, she said there were three already in city hands who hadn't submitted in time to be considered during the Feb. 26 meeting.

Dunsmuir Administrative Assistant Julie Iskra said later the names of those three persons were not available because their applications had been destroyed. If they are still interested, they will have to reapply. She said the new applications must be in at City Hall by 4 p.m. March 12.

Councilor Mitchell expressed frustration after the council failed to appoint Tuesday night, stating, "It's terrible that we can't even pick a replacement!" Describing the council as divided, he made a motion to call for the election. After some discussion, during which Councilor Steele suggested trying again with new candidates, Mitchell rescinded his motion.

Steele moved for the March 14 meeting. His motion passed 4-0. This special meeting will take place in council chambers at 6 p.m.

More details from this meeting will be published in the March 6 Dunsmuir News.