Letter: Council appointment will be made in fair, reasonable, legal manner
I want to thank Phil Dirksen and John Sherman for taking the time to share their thoughts about how the Clarkdale Town Council is handling the unique situations surrounding the resignation of Ben Kramer from our Council.
Mr. Kramer has served the Town honorably and with intelligence and passion for the good of our community for years. His resignation was as unanticipated by him as it was the rest of our Council and staff.
Just before the primary election, Ben decided that he may want to apply for the town manager’s position when it became available next year, after Gayle Mabery’s retirement.
Luckily, he was wise enough to mention this to Gayle, and her research revealed that Mr. Kramer could not be considered for the town manager’s position until a year after his term would normally expire.
This is a Town of Clarkdale code adopted to make sure that current council members could not promote their own selection for employment while on the Council.
After Gayle and I discussed the “what ifs” with our town attorney, we gained a better understanding of what the law allowed and demanded in unusual cases like this.
The options given the Town Council in last Tuesday’s agenda reflected those legal options. At Tuesday’s meeting, the Town Council decided on a course of action to replace Ben for the remainder of the current term that was, in my opinion, fair, reasonable, and (maybe most importantly) legal.
To learn more about how the Council made its decision and hear the legal opinions of our town attorney, please listen to the audio recording of the proceedings on the town’s website.
Mr. Dirksen’s suggestion that we place people who didn’t prevail in the primary election on the general election ballot is interesting, but not legal.
Neither State nor local law allows us to place people on a general election ballot who were not advanced in the primary election.
Some thought that we should appoint the next highest vote-getter in the primary, but that is problematic in my and most of the council’s opinion.
Doing so would essentially assume that a three-person race without Ben Kramer on the ballot would result in exactly the same vote. But if we’ve learned anything lately, we’ve learned that elections are impossible to predict.
The letter writers seemed to question Ben Kramer’s integrity, but my experience watching Ben act on behalf of the Town has shown me that he is of the highest integrity and that his decisions always reflect the best for the Town he clearly loves. I’ll leave it to him and the people who know him to address the comments in these letters if they like.
Finally, as the audio of the meeting will demonstrate, the quote attributed to me (“This is a representative democracy…”) was actually that of another councilor.
Thanks again to everyone who has expressed their opinions and thoughts about this complex issue, and I urge anyone who would like a more detailed discussion to email me.
Doug Von Gausig
Mayor, Town of Clarkdale