BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The agenda for Tuesday’s Los Alamos County Council meeting was amended Friday to include discussion and possible action on the filling of the vacancy created by Friday’s resignation of Councilor James Robinson effective Saturday, Jan. 1.
The County Charter mandates that the remaining County Councilors appoint a qualified person to fill the vacant seat for the remainder of the unexpired term. Council Rules state that Council will solicit letters if interest and applications from the public.
“When the recruiting process is complete, the County Council will appoint a committee to develop a set of interview questions specific to the elected office and that appropriately demonstrates the applicants’ skills, knowledge and interest in the position; they may also address issues relevant to the community. The draft set of interview questions will be reviewed, discussed and agreed on by Council in the public meeting prior to initiating the interview process,” the rules state. “The County Council will then schedule a public interview and decision process at an upcoming Council meeting.”
The Rules state that at the appointed Council meeting, the applicants will attend and present their application to the Council using the following process:
“Each applicant will make a three minute statement to share their interest and qualifications for the office. Applicants will then answer interview questions from the County Council. Each applicant will answer each question. Questions will be prepared in advance. Follow up questions are allowed if further clarification is needed. There will be an opportunity for public comment after applicants have made their statements and answered questions. Public comment is limited to three minutes per citizen. After public comment, the Council will take a roll call vote. — The applicant with the most votes will be appointed to fill the vacancy. — In order to be selected, an applicant must receive a minimum of 4 votes. If no applicant receives 4 votes after the first roll call vote, the applicant with the fewest votes will be eliminated and the Council will take additional roll call votes until a final selection is made.”
The agenda packet for the meeting notes that the Council Procedural Rules explain the appointment process for the selection of elected officials. “After discussion, Council could choose to take action to modify this process,” the packet states.