After the celebrations and proclamations of out-going council members Pat Anderson and Jim Frazier were completed, the newest Oakley City Council decided that the positions of mayor and vice mayor of Oakley would remain the same which kicked the trend of rotating the positions between the council. This was a wonderful choice considering the alternative.
This was the appropriate move considering history would suggest Councilman Randy Popes would be next in line for vice mayor. However, considering his actions, or lack of actions, over past two years while serving on the council, the council made the best choice for Oakley considering he has been a disaster. The truth is, it’s difficult to serve in the capacity of mayor and vice mayor when one has not formed the relationships while serving on committees. He has also accomplished very little if anything during his first two years and that trend will likely continue. It also now sets a precedence that if one do not put in the effort, the position will no longer rotate—and that is a great thing as it now has to be earned.
I could see a situation where next year either newcomer Diane Burgis or Doug Hardcastle would again bypass Mr. Pope as vice mayor. As you will see in the recap below, I can appreciate Ms. Rios being honest about her situation and allowing someone else to serve in a greater capacity.
It also shows the council will break a trend if it benefits the residents as Romick, Rios and Burgis decided against the same old rotation. I can appreciate Councilwoman Burgis politely suggesting Mr. Pope had not been on committees or has been unavailable to residents due to his work schedule. It’s a valid statement which apparently Romick and Rios agreed with as Popes nomination by Hardcastle was rejected while Rios was approved 3-2.
This vote was very telling of how ineffective Mr. Pope has been during his tenure on the council. For Oakley, the council made the best possible decision possible to leave the positions of Mayor and Vice Mayor unchanged. For Pope, it appears he has two years remaining where he will be a lame duck.
Here is my council recap
Burgis, Hardcastle, Romick Take Oath of Office
With election season over, its always special to see new council members sworn in to serve the next four years. Last night, Mayor Kevin Romick took the oath of office for the third time while newcomers Diane Burgis and Doug Hardcastle were also sworn in.
Mayor & Vice Mayor Nominations
Vice Mayor Rios started out the discussion by stating she was nominating Kevin Romick to serve a second year in a row as Mayor since she was having a “family issue” with her husband having surgery and needing care. She stated she would rather be mayor next year in her final year on the council—it appears she will not be seeking re-election after that. Motion to approve Kevin Romick as Oakley’s first back-to-back mayor was approved 5-0.
After that, it’s where things got really interesting as Burgis asked Rios if her situation would allow her to serve as vice mayor and give it the attention it needs—she replied it wouldn’t be a problem. It appeared Burgis was going to make a motion to nominate Rios as vice mayor but yielded to Hardcastle.
Hardcastle stated he thought it should be Randy Pope and then nominated him. Burgis put out the elephant in the room suggesting Pope has not been available to serve on any committees the past year due to is schedule. She asked Pope about his schedule where he suggested his schedule had changed again and he got a good draw (shift) stating it would not be a problem. Hardcastles motion went forward to nominate Pope as vice mayor after Rios seconded it. The vote failed by 2-2 with Romick and Rios voting against Pope with Burgis abstaining from the vote.
Burgis then nominated Rios for vice mayor and was approved by a 3-2 vote with Hardcastle and Pope voting against Rios. With that, it appears Pope may be the first councilperson never to serve as vice mayor or mayor of Oakley.
Power Plant Resolution Approved
The City Council voted 5-0 to support a Resolution Reaffirming Support of the Oakley Generating Station which was an appropriate move given the newly seated councilmembers.
Unfortunately, Oakley resident Paul Seger decided to oppose the move suggesting that Burgis would have a conflict of interest due to her position on the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and that she would have a financial gain by voting in support of the power plant. This clearly is an untrue accusation and misguided as no money has been given to the organization. The sad part is this all occurred before any vote even took place—basically making an accusation before an action could occur.
Mr. Seger went on to discuss environmental and health concerns of the new plant. He further accused Hardcastle and Burgis of not being involved in the process and suggested they should not vote on the resolution. Oakley’s legal counsel corrected Mr. Seger on his assumption of a potential conflict of interest.
Kudos go out to Greg Lamberg of Radback Energy for correcting Mr. Seger on the potential conflict of interests, stated the environmental and health issues have already been studied and given the approval
The next council meeting will occur on January 8, 2013.