We can't imagine a situation when a vacancy on the Redmond City Council should be concealed from Redmond residents. And when residents should not be given an opportunity to apply.
But Redmond Mayor George Endicott and some councilors said at Tuesday's council meeting they have no interest in putting a discussion about a more transparent process for filling vacancies on the city's agenda. If people in Redmond want a transparent process, they need to let the mayor and councilors know.
Remember the way a vacancy was filled on May 26. It was only about 12 hours between when the public might have heard there was a vacancy and the vacancy was filled. There was actually no public announcement. The mayor and two other councilors only interviewed one candidate. Other councilors didn't even know there was a vacancy until May 26.
That's one way to run a government. It's not transparent. It's not inclusive. It cut out the public.
Endicott had his reasons for moving quickly. Councilor Joseph Centanni had told him he was resigning and asked the mayor to keep that confidential. Endicott wanted to fill the position as quickly as possible, so he could have a full council to participate in the budget process.
The process also followed the city's charter. The charter says: “Vacant elective offices in the City shall be filled by appointment by the Mayor. A majority vote of the Council shall be required to approve the appointment.”
We don't understand why the appointment of a new councilor could not have waited at least a week. That would have allowed time for the public to be notified and for people to apply. But that's done. Albert Calderon is the new councilor and we hope he will be a success. We didn't see him on the video of Tuesday's meeting. He missed it, City Manager Keith Witcosky told us.
Going forward what Redmond could do is make a commitment to a fully transparent process. Let the public know there is an opening in advance. Allow people to apply. Councilors could interview possible candidates. And then vote on a decision, after the mayor makes a recommendation. That doesn't mean changing the charter.
Councilor Camden King asked his fellow councilors Tuesday night to put just that sort of discussion on the city's agenda. Endicott said he wouldn't do it. So King needed three other councilors to support him to get it on the agenda.
Councilor Krisanna Clark-Endicott, who is the mayor's wife, declined to support the idea. She said she didn't have any interest in going backward and talking about what was already decided. She pointed out King did not attend the May 26 meeting.
"You don't get to play the game over because one of the members of your team did not show up," she said. "The game's over."
She's right, except that King wasn't asking to go back and revisit the decision to appoint Calderon. He was asking for a policy for future vacancies.
Councilor Jay Patrick said he was not interested in putting the idea on the agenda, either. He pointed out if councilors don't like who the mayor recommends, they can vote against that person.
Councilor Jon Bullock supported putting the item on the agenda. "If the message is that we need to have split votes in order for everyone to have access to information then that's fine, that's part of the process, too," he said.
Other councilors, Ginny McPherson and Calderon, did not attend the meeting or did not participate in that discussion.
If you are keeping score, that is only two on council in support of a more transparent process for filling councilor vacancies. Redmond residents must tell councilors if they want a change.
Councilors and the mayor can be emailed at Mayor-Council@redmondoregon.gov.