YACHATS — A day after hosting interviews with candidates, members of the Yachats City Council needed just a single round of voting Wednesday to unanimously to appoint Adobe Resort General Manager Anthony Muirhead to fill a vacancy on the council during its Wednesday afternoon virtual business meeting.
Muirhead and retired psychologist Fran Morse — two of four people to submit applications for the seat vacated at the beginning of the year when former councilor Leslie Vaaler was elected mayor— met with councilors individually Tuesday afternoon for interviews. During Wednesday’s meeting, Vaaler and councilors Greg Scott, Ann Stott and Mary Ellen O’Shaughnessey noted that all were impressed with both candidates interviewed, and said their decision wasn’t an easy one.
“I wanted it all,” Vaaler said after backing Muirhead for the council seat. “I wanted all the wisdom and experience that Fran could give, and I wanted the youth and the connections with young people and the very deep concern about housing that Anthony was bringing.”
Scott said his vote for Muirhead was an effort to bring a new voice with potential fresh ideas to the council, despite Scott’s respect for Morse’s intelligence and her level of community involvement.
“But for me, ultimately it boiled down to that with essentially four other academics on the council, it was really more about diversity,” Scott said. “During the campaign (for city council election) in the fall, I tried to stress the importance I felt with building a relationship with the business community on the council, and I think Anthony fills that promise more effectively. So, tough decision, but you can only vote for one.”
Stott joked that Muirhead’s relative youth helped sway her in his direction.
“Basically, we have four old farts, and we needed a younger person on council,” Stott said. “That demographic is so key, and I’m glad that Anthony volunteered to step up.”
Even Morse said that after watching Muirhead’s interview with the council she thought her opponent was the proper choice to the fill the seat.
“I have to say that I agree with (the council) completely,” Morse said after votes were tallied. “After I heard Anthony had applied, I started thinking just then that he was the perfect person. And after I heard him in his interview, I agreed even more with that.”
Late last year, Muirhead spoke out against a potential lighting ordinance that could greatly reduce or ban altogether the Adobe’s outdoor lighting, which illuminates the nearby beach and ocean waters. During Muirhead’s interview Tuesday with the council, Scott asked how he would approach council decisions that could have potential affect on the 100-room Adobe Resort.
“Well, it puts me in a very unique situation,” Muirhead answered. “I would need to follow the rules stated — first of all if there’s a conflict of interest when I need to refrain from a vote, I need to refrain from a vote. We can use the lighting ordinance as an example. If there’s a stand-up vote whether to include marine lighting (in the proposed ordinance), I don’t feel like I, by definition, should vote on that because I do have a conflict of interest there. Whereas if we’re talking about the overall lighting ordinance for the entire city, I think that is bigger necessarily than my business, and I feel comfortable putting that aside.”