Filling the Ward 5 vacancy received much attention. According to the City Charter Council had 30 days to fill the position and once they failed, the responsibility fell to me. A lot of attention has been given to the fact that I let council know that I was highly offended by the accusations made during their portion of the search process and that I would not consider the candidates they found unless they could come together and show support for one of those candidates.
I’ve always thought that having many differing views and backgrounds in a group leads to good discussions and better decisions. I’ve also come to realize that if people are on totally different pages and can’t objectively evaluate the position of others roadblocks occur. For two years I offered good advice to council that fell on deaf ears. For instance, I said we should bid out major contracts, like the one awarded to manage the building of the fire station, but instead council decided to give the contract to a friend. When it became my responsibility to appoint the Ward 5 representative, I let everyone know that one of the characteristics that would help me make my decision was to find someone that understood the way I thought.
While at the EWP Luau on February 20, I spoke with one of the Ward 5 candidates and he told me he planned to attend the next Council Meeting to address Council and introduce himself and some of his supporters to the City. I encourage him to do this and the next day I reached out to the other candidates and let them know I thought this was a great idea and encourage them to also address council and the city. Anyone that knows me would also know, a candidate that showed interest by attending the other council meetings and work sessions would impress me. Last week I reached out again to all the candidates reiterating that I believed it was a good idea for potential council members to speak to the public. This last invitation was accepted by Mr. Urig and Ms. Byrge and both indicated they would speak to the public and give residents the opportunity to meet them.
One of the other candidates showed she did not share my belief that it would be beneficial to introduce herself to the public before being appointed. From her statement Monday night, it is apparent she not only did not share my opinion that it was a good idea for potential council members to introduce themselves before being appointed; she was insulted by the idea. I fully understand this whole process was stressful for all involved. But someone that wanted to work with me on council would know that it is more effective to be proactive while a decision is being made than it is to complain about being slighted after the fact.
If we should happen to have an opening in the future and Council again fails to fulfill its duties, I hope potential applicants understand that I value openness and transparency and I respect those that share those values enough that they allow their positive and negative characteristics to be debated in public.
I appreciate all those that applied for the Ward 5 position. It was a stressful process as many decisions in life can be. Before I close, I want to thank Councilman Campbell and Councilman Otto for contributing to the solution by bringing Ms. Byrge to my attention. With their assistance, the Ward 5 Council position has been filled with a highly qualified individual that will perform admirably going forward.
Tom McMasters is the Mayor of Huber Heights. He can be reached at 985-6275 or by email at email@example.com.