What if Fritzler Wins?
In a comment on yesterday’s post a reader noted that if Joel Fritzler wins the mayoral election it will be necessary to appoint someone to fill his old council seat. It seems to me that the natural person to appoint would be the candidate who finishes in fourth place in the April 5 election.
When Lance Jack resigned last year it had been nearly two years since the last election, but that wouldn’t be the case this time. Since council members are usually elected, and since the appointment would happen so near the election, I think the fourth place finisher would have a strong democratic claim on Fritzler’s old council seat.
That claim would be even stronger if the race for third place is very close. In this week’s primary, one vote separated third place (Tom Grant) and fourth place (Lance Jack). If Fritzler is elected mayor and I was the candidate who finished a close fourth in the April 5 election, I would expect to be appointed to Fritzler’s old seat.
I’m guessing most people would agree with this, at least in the abstract. Since the new mayor and council would choose the replacement, I’d be interested to know if Fritzler and the city council candidates agree. I’d also be interested to know if sitting council members Chris Wissmann and Corene McDaniel agree.
If Fritzler is elected, and if the same process is used to replace him as was used to replace Jack, Fritzler (in his new role as mayor) would recommend several candidates and the council would choose one in closed session. Presumably a majority of the council could appoint whoever they want, whether that person was on the mayor’s recommendation list or not.
It will be interesting to see what happens if Fritzler is elected and Lance Jack finishes a close fourth in the primary. As everyone knows, Jack had to resign from city council last year as part of a deal to get a liquor license for his restaurant. Fritzler took the position that Jack was ineligible to hold a liquor license as long as he served on city council.
Obviously, Jack has been the subject of some controversy, and the electorate in April will be different – and larger – than the electorate that voted in the primary. I’m not sure how likely it is that both Jack finishes fourth and Fritzler is elected mayor. In other words, Fritzler winning wouldn’t necessarily reignite the Lance Jack liquor license/council seat controversy.
Still, if Fritzler is elected mayor, I would like to see the council appoint the fourth place finisher in the council race no matter who that candidate is.
Comments are welcome.