CLARKDALE - In a 3-1 vote, the Town Council selected Reynold Radoccia to serve the remainder of a term that opened when Councilmember Patricia Williams passed away May 8. Town Manager Gayle Mabery explained that Clarkdale has traditionally held elections in the spring. But legislation adopted during the 2012 Arizona Legislative Session, changes the election cycle for local elections to August or November.
That will extend Radoccia's appointed term from spring 2014 until the fall 2014 election cycle.
The council had accepted applications to fill the open seat. On May 30, the council met in special session to conduct interviews with four applicants: Ruth Wicks, Anita Simgen, Rennie Radoccia and Vic Viarengo.
A special meeting was scheduled for Tuesday so the council could make its selection of which applicant would fill the open seat.
Mayor Doug Von Gausig opened the meeting by saying there were two ways of handling the selection, by motion or by nomination.
"This is the hardest decision the council has made in a very long time," Von Gausig said. He added that any of the applicants would do a good job for the town.
He suggested a couple of things council members might consider in making its selection. Those considerations basically focused on where the town is headed, and who has the experience and qualifications to work toward that end.
Councilman Curt Bohall said, "We could live with any of them," he said. "I don't know if we'd live better with one of them over another. That being said, I've narrowed it down to two"
Vice Mayor Richard Dehnert said this decision is really difficult and it isn't what he signed up for. He said that before the interviews he thought he knew which one of the four applicants he would vote for. But after the interviews he felt than any of them would do well.
Council member Bill Regner said that his dominant thoughts have been how fortunate Clarkdale is to have such qualified applicants.
"That's great for Clarkdale," Regner said, "but very difficult for me."
Von Gausig said he believes, based on the direction the town is headed regarding sustainability issues, that the town needs people who can do a lot of work toward issues such as renewable energy.
"That brought me to Rennie," he said. "I think Rennie would be a real asset as far as that is concerned."
"I look at this a little differently," Regner said. He explained that as the council moves forward, it wants Clarkdale to be a model to be observed. He said the council must account for the perception people have of how the council works.
"In two years, there will be three seats on this council open for election," Regner said. He said that a bad perception would completely derail the work the town is currently doing.
"Ruth Wicks would be my choice," Regner said.
Dehnert pointed out that as far as the issue of sustainability is concerned, during the interview process, Radoccia said, 'Sustainability is how I live my life.'
Bohall made a motion to select Radoccia for the open council seat. Dehnert seconded the motion.
After discussion, the vote was split 3-to-1, with Regner being the only nay vote.
Mabery said that Radoccia will take the oath of office and be seated during the June 12 regular council meeting.