Electric City’s council elected Lonna Bussert to fill Willie Bott’s vacated council seat last Tuesday night.
Two residents, Bussert and Bradley Parrish, had written letters of interest and appeared at the council meeting.
Council members went into closed session to discuss qualifications of the two candidates and returned to make their choice.
That’s when things started to go askew. Members wanted to select their new member by secret ballot.
“We live in a small community where everyone knows everyone, and it wouldn’t be a good idea to vote where the candidates could see who voted for them,” Mayor Jerry Sands stated.
That appeared to be the way the council was leaning until City Clerk Jackie Perman told the mayor and council that they couldn’t do that. (The Open Public Meetings Act states: “No governing body of a public agency at any meeting required to be open to the public shall vote by secret ballot. Any vote taken in violation of this subsection shall be null and void …”)
After some hedging by the council and prodding by Perman, a motion was made to select Bussert, who after a 3-1 vote was sworn in. Councilmember John Nordine cast his vote for Parrish.
Parrish, when asked why he wanted to be on the council, first stated that he didn’t know why. Then he went on to say that he liked small towns and would like to see the city “capitalize on summer tourists.”
Bussert had said that she would like to see the city return to a safe environment where you didn’t have to lock your house doors or lock your cars.