YACHATS — The newly elected Yachats City Council is poised to tackle some pressing issues during the 2021 calendar year. The council will jump in feet first when it meets for the first time at 9:30 a.m. Thursday for a work session and regular meeting.
Among the topics on the agendas for both meetings, available for the public to attend via Zoom at https://bit.ly/2XetXR6, is the swearing in of the new council, including new Mayor Leslie Vaaler and new councilors Ann Stott and Greg Scott, election of a new council president and councilor representation on city committees and boards.
But one of the very first orders of business the council will undertake is filling a vacant council seat that opened when Vaaler offered her resignation Dec. 16 in order for her to take the mayor’s seat. Vaaler bested incumbent mayor John Moore by more than 200 votes during the Nov. 3 General Election.
The Yachats mayor serves a two-year term, and the term of the vacant council seat also expires Jan. 1, 2023.
“A mayor or councilor vacancy will be filled by appointment by a majority of the remaining council members,” reads Section 32 of the Yachats City Charter. “The appointee’s term of office runs from appointment until expiration of the term of office of the last person elected to that office.”
City Municipal Code dictates that the council must advertise the council seat vacancy and give potential candidates two weeks to submit an application. The council can then conduct interviews with applicants before an appointment is made by a vote during a regular city council meeting. Shannon Beaucaire, Yachats city recorder, will announce the result of each ballot cast by councilors. In the event no applicant secures a majority of the four-person vote, the council will continue to vote on the two applicants with the most votes until one receives a majority.
It will be up to the new council to decide when to advertise to fill the vacancy, signaling the commencement of the appointment process. Council will also determine the questions asked to candidates on the city council application.
Most recently, last year’s Yachats City Council appointed Councilor Mary Ellen O’Shaugnessey following the mid-January resignation of Councilor James Kerti. He offered his resignation during a Jan. 15, 2020 council meeting. There, councilors agreed on application questions and set a Feb. 14 deadline.
Council received three applications and interviewed candidates in late February. During the March 5 council meeting, O’Shaugnessey received three votes and was officially appointed and sworn in.
Last year’s councilor appointment application asked what the applicant thinks is the biggest issues facing the city, the applicants motivation for applying, their major interests or concerns with the community and more.
Applicants for city council appointment must be registered voters and a Yachats resident for at least the previous 12 months. For further information, call the city at 541-547-3063.