Prineville looks to fill empty council seat

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: April 11. 2007 5:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE – The Prineville City Council is moving forward with replacing Tim Harris, who resigned late last month, and would-be councilors will have until May 17 to apply for the open spot.

The six remaining councilors decided at their regular meeting Tuesday to allow more than a month to publicize the vacancy. They will discuss the contenders for the job at the council’s May 22 meeting.

Harris was appointed to the council in 2005 and re-elected in November. His term runs until Dec. 31, 2010.

According to the City Charter, open council positions will be filled by appointment from the other council members. City Councilors in Prineville are unpaid and hold two meetings each month, in addition to committees and special meetings.

Pat Hepperle, the administrative assistant for the city, said that candidates must be registered voters and at least 18 years old and must have resided in the city for at least one year. She added that people who wish to be considered for the position should send a letter of interest to the city “telling about themselves and why they want to serve on the council.”

Councilor Betty Roppe said she would like to choose a new council member right away, and suggested that the council discuss the candidates at its next meeting on May 8.

“I think we need to fill it as soon as we can,” she said.

But City Manager Robb Corbett said he did not think that would be enough time to get the word out through the city’s newsletter and other media. Councilor Bobbi Young said she would prefer to take more time with the search.

“I think it’s important to fill the position, but I don’t have a huge sense of urgency,” Young said. “I think it’s important to provide enough time for the citizens and those interested in joining us here.”

Harris, 33, cited work-related conflicts in announcing his resignation in late March. Harris works in the headquarters of Les Schwab Tire Centers and usually has to be on the job by 3 a.m.

Mayor Mike Wendel on Tuesday commended Harris again for his work while on the council.

“I believe Tim did an excellent job as a council member,” Wendel said at the meeting. “He was very active – anytime I ever asked him to step in on a committee or anything, he would just step up and do it.”

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