City council must fill vacant seat by March 22
Hasty’s replacement will have to be from Ward 1
WEST BRANCH — The city of West Branch will have until March 22 to fill the city council seat vacated by the recent death of Jim Hasty or it will need to hold a special election, according to City Manager Heather Grace.
Grace told the Herald Feb. 16 that the city council will vote to officially declare Hasty’s seat vacant at its meeting Feb. 20, at which time the city will have 30 days to appoint someone to the seat. Grace said the council has the authority to appoint anyone as long as they are qualified for the seat pursuant to the city’s charter.
West Branch voters recently approved the elimination of voting wards for the city. However the ballot language stated Hasty’s ward, Ward 1, would be eliminated with the November 2018 election. Because the person appointed will be filling the remainder of Hasty’s term, the ward limitation remains, Grace said. Therefore, the person appointed to the seat must live within the city’s first ward.
“Traditionally, council has handled the appointment process by allowing interested parties to submit letters of interest and/or resumes highlighting why they want to be considered for the position, as well as the qualities about themselves that they believe would make them candidates to serve on the council,” Grace said. “Council then typically holds a work session to review the letters of interest/resumes and also interviews the interested parties, after which council discusses their views on the applicants. Then, council typically makes the actual appointment during their next regularly scheduled council meeting, and the appointment is made in the same manner as any other motion, and just has to have a majority vote of council to be successful.”
Hasty passed away Feb. 9. He was appointed to the city council Sept. 8, 2014, filling the seat of late Councilman Chad Lucas. He was one of four who submitted letters of interest for the vacant seat at that time.