Council stymied over lack of interest on vacant seat
By Fred Arnold Telescope publisher
Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Not one person in the community of Belleville has stepped up to inquire about filling the vacant council seat created when Blaine Miller ascended to the mayor’s position, following the resignation of sitting mayor Tatum Couture. No one.
Members of the local city council were stymied by the news from Belleville city Manager Neal Lewis that his office not received one singe inquiry. ‘The last time we had an opening we had four or five people express interest, this time not one,” Lewis said.
Belleville City Attorney Rachel Zenger said that according to state statute the position, which only has one year remaining on the term, must be filled. She had hoped to have the seat filled this month. “The statute says it “shall” be filled,” Zenger said. “But I think as long as you (the council) are making an effort I don’t think you’re doing anything illegal by leaving it open.” Council member Tiffany Hansen said she has been asking a lot of people but has had no positive response.
“I have spoke to a lot of people; male, female it doesn’t matter, there just doesn’t seem to be any interest out there.” City manager Lewis said while he thinks it is fine if council members themselves try to drum up interest in the vacant council seat, he stressed that city personnel cannot be involved in leadership recruitment. “There is a line we do not want to cross,” he said.
“As a staff , as far as asking people to serve, we really can’t do that. We can be here to answer questions and that is all.” Councilman Doane Sells asked Telescope publisher Fred Arnold to try and get the word out more about the position both editorially and story-wise. “I think we should just wait until the next meeting and see what shakes out then,” he said.
Learn more about the City of Belleville and contact them for questions here –www.cityofbellevillekansas.com