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The vacant seat on the Roanoke City Council remains unfilled after the council was unable to appoint a replacement at Monday’s council meeting.
The District 3 seat has been empty since Tommy Rushton resigned after his family moved out of the district. Rushton himself was a replacement for Bronwyn Bishop, who was initially elected to the seat in 2020 election but also stepped down after she moved out of the district.
After Monday’s development the council would appear to be at a stalemate with the appointment, and now the clock is ticking on whether they will be the ones to make the decision at all.
Six citizens of District 3 spoke before the council at Monday’s meeting seeking appointment to the seat. Crystal Albright, Jacqueline Frieson, Daniel Anglin, Sonja Treadwell Nolen, Tommy Burke and Gary Pike all made their case before the council.
After everyone had spoken council member Mike Parmer made a motion to appoint Anglin, but that motion died without a second.
After Parmer’s motion council member Tammi Holley requested more time for consideration of each candidate, then made reference to “the meeting before the meeting,” an insinuation that some of the other council members had communicated with each other prior to Monday’s meeting on who the selection should be. Council member Kesa Johnston pushed back on that and denied that any such arrangement existed.
Neither Holley nor Johnston – nor any of the other council members – made a motion to appoint anyone following that discussion.
According to law, the council has 60 days from the time of Rushton’s resignation to appoint a replacement. That 60 day deadline expires Friday, November 17, with the next council meeting set for Monday, Nov. 20. If they are unable to appoint anyone, the decision is sent to the office of Governor Kay Ivey, who then has 90 days to name someone to the seat. If Ivey does not make that appointment it would then go to a special election of the citizens of District 3.
The council has resisted a special election because of the cost involved. Johnston mentioned at Monday’s meeting that such an election would carry an estimated $30,000 price tag at the city’s expense, money she and other members of the council have said could be better spent elsewhere.
In an effort to come to an agreement prior to the Nov. 17 deadline, the council will have a special called meeting Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at City Hall for the purpose of filling the empty seat.
The next city-wide election for the City of Roanoke will be in the fall of 2025, so nearly two years remain on the current term for the open seat.