Tuesday, 19 February 2019 18:43

3 vie for empty Hamlet City Council seat

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HAMLET — Three people have thrown their proverbial hats in the ring to fill a city council vacancy and one of them could be sworn in as early as next week.

Former Mayor Jeff Smart, former Police Chief Terry Moore and Seaboard Festival Board Member Diane Mabe have all submitted applications to fill the seat left open last week by the resignation of Councilman David Lindsey.

Lindsey cited “personal reasons” in his one-sentence email to Mayor Bill Bayless prior to the council’s February meeting.

Lindsey was elected to the municipal board in 2015 and his seat is one of three that will be up for re-election in November, as well as the mayoral seat.

Moore submitted a listing of his community involvement including being on several boards, coaching a winning recreational baseball team, leadership positions in his church, and helping someone break their meth addiction.

Mabe said that she wants to help Hamlet “thrive and grow and am willing to work within this council to help achieve that common goal.”

“I believe everyone has a responsibility to help better their community and I have always strived to fill that responsibility in a private manner,” she continued. “However, I had the privilege of being able to serve on the Seaboard Festival Board of Directors last year and am currently serving as its vice president this year and have come to realize that the opportunities to serve are far better reached on a public platform.”

Smart, who was mayor from 2007-2013, is also co-owner of Mabry’s Drug and Home Care and owns several properties. He said he has a “vested interest” in the city’s growth and success.

“I would not require much policy training since I do have some experience,” he said. “I know I can work with the present Council Members and continue to make Hamlet a great place to live, work, and play for our citizens.”

The council could fill the position one of two ways, according to a 2013 post from Bob Joyce on the UNC School of Government’s Coates’ Canons blog.

One of the council members could move to appoint someone to the position and the council would vote; or the council could elect the fill-in by ballot.

“A person who receives a majority of the votes would be selected to fill the vacancy,” Joyce wrote. “If no one receives a majority, then those who receive the fewest votes should be dropped from consideration, so that the voting is between the front-runners.”

Both methods are held in an open meeting.

Joyce goes on to explain that the nomination-and-ballot method is preferable.

He also says that the mayor can break a tie if the council uses the motion-and-vote method, but not the ballot-and-vote method. In case of a tie using the latter, Joyce says the council must move to another round of votes.

Whomever is appointed will serve out the rest of Lindsey’s term and would have to run — and win — in November’s election to remain on the board, Elections Director Connie Kelly confirmed Tuesday.

The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26 to choose its new member.