HOISINGTON — Discussion of candidates seeking appointment to the Hoisington City Council turned to a brief debate of public participation in the civic process at Monday’s meeting of the governing body.
Near the top of a packed Monday agenda, the council voted for successors to vacancies in two of the city’s four wards due to sitting council members’ resignations expressing intent to move from the ward in which they were elected.
Ward I council member Karen VanBrimmer notified the city of her intent to move in March, after 16 years of continuous service on the council. In a similar action, Ward II council member Carol Nather announced that she would be moving from her ward. Both had been re-elected last November.
Hoisington City Manager Jonathan Mitchell noted that in the ensuing process for replacement, five candidates had submitted their letters of intent: two from Ward I and three from Ward II.
Nather, who had moved to Ward I, expressed her desire to continue serving on the council. By unanimous vote of members present, she was appointed to the vacant seat for that ward.
None of the candidates for the Ward II vacancy had prior elective experience.
After discussion, which included the candidates’ opportunity to speak, Keith A. Kennon was unanimously appointed by the council.
During the vote discussion, council members and candidates spoke about public attendance at council meetings. Mitchell noted that he was encouraged by the fact that five members of the community openly expressed their wish to become a part of the governing body.
Regarding public attendance, council member Jim Morris said that it was difficult to entice the public to a meeting. “You can lead a horse to water, but ...” he said.
Candidates had until April 19 to submit their letters of intent. The appointed candidates will serve the remainder of their predecessors’ terms that are due to expire in January 2025. At that point, they may choose to file for re-election in the appropriate upcoming balloting.