Council to interview candidates
Candidates for unexpired seat on Saratoga Town Council to be interviewed during executive session during August 4 meeting
August 5, 2020
UPDATE: Following an executive session in which two candidates, D'Ron Campbell and Michelle Cook, were interviewed the Saratoga Town Council voted unanimously to appoint Campbell to the seat left open by the passing of Councilmember Steve Wilcoxson. Glee Johnson, according to Mayor John Zeiger, had withdrawn her letter of interest prior to the meeting.
More than a month since Mayor John Zeiger announced that three candidates for the open seat on the Saratoga Town Council would be interviewed, the trio of applicants are expected to be interviewed during the August 4 meeting of the governing body.
As was reported previously (see “Saratoga declares vacancy on council” on page 1 of the June 10 Saratoga Sun), Zeiger officially declared a vacancy on the council following the passing of Councilmember Steve Wilcoxson. The deadline for applications was June 12 and it was announced at the end of the June 23 meeting that, while there had been four letters of interest, three remained and the town council would interview those candidates.
During both the July 7 and July 21 council meetings, however, an appointment to the open seat had not appeared on the agenda. The Saratoga Sun asked both times where the council was on conducting interviews of candidates. Zeiger responded on July 7 that they “just haven’t had the time”. When asked on July 21, the mayor replied, “I still haven’t set up a (time) and I guess it’s up to the council. Do we want to try and fill that or do we want to go the next five months the four of us? I’ll kind of leave that up to you guys.”
In September 2018, under Mayor Ed Glode, Councilmember JennieLou Garland had resigned from the council. At that time, Glode and the rest of the council announced they would keep the seat open until January 2019.
“My understanding of the statute is that we’re required to fill it. I don’t have that statute in front of me … but my understanding is that we, essentially, we shall fill the seat,” replied Councilmember Jon Nelson. “I think we presented to the public that we were going to do that and we took letters of interest.”
Indeed, Wyoming State Statute 15-1-107(c) reads, “If a vacancy is determined to exist, the governing body shall appoint an eligible person to the office who shall serve until his successor is elected at the next general municipal election and qualified. If the entire council is vacant, the district judge for the district in which the city or town is located shall appoint a person to fill each vacancy and serve until the next general municipal election at which time a successor shall be elected to fill the unexpired portion of each term.”
The identity of the three candidates had not been revealed to the public during either of the July meetings. In an email made available to the Sun, however, the three candidates were revealed to be D’Ron Campbell, Glee Johnson and Michelle Cook. While initial interviews had been scheduled for July 30, Nelson raised the issue in the email chain of avoiding a quorum outside a publicly announced meeting. In response, Zeiger rescheduled the interviews to take place during the executive session.
The agenda for the August 4 meeting listed the executive session near the end of the meeting.
Campbell currently serves on the Recreation Commission and has been an outspoken critic of the lack of programs put out by the recreation department and Recreation Director Lisa Burton. Johnson, meanwhile, has been a perennial municipal candidate who last ran for town council in 2016 and ran in a crowded mayoral race in 2014 that included Zeiger, Glode, Don Sherrod and Lynda Healey.
Little is known about Cook, other than that she is married to Lyle Cook who is currently employed by the Town of Saratoga.
The Saratoga Town Council will have met at 7 p.m. on August 4. Visit www.saratogasun.com for updated information on the result of the candidate interviews.