ISHPEMING, Mich. (WZMQ) – The Ishpeming City Council has a new member tonight following a contentious six weeks.
Wednesday night the City Council held a special meeting, which was attended by more than a dozen community members. After hearing public comment the council discussed 5 candidates who had applied to fill a vacant seat. The decision the council came to was to appoint Renelle Halverson.
“I have to say I was listened to, the community came out to support me,” remarked Halverson after being appointed to the Council.
Halverson was sworn in directly following the special meeting. The vacant seat was caused by the unexpected death of Ishpeming city council member Stuart Skauge in June.
According to the Ishpeming city charter the council has 30 days to fill a vacancy.
“The city put out a notice of vacancy for petitions to be picked up, petitions needed to be turned in by July 5th,” remarked Claudia Demarest during the public comment session of the meeting.
Three Ishpeming residents completed an application to fill the seat within the set time frame but the council decided to extend the application period two weeks.
In the extended time frame 2 more residents put in applications. Some residents felt as if the decision violated the city charter.
“The extension of the deadline makes any filings except for the original three null and void,”
The council did not make any decision to take the two applicants who filed during the extended period out of consideration. But Halverson was one of the original three candidates to apply.
Mayor Jason Chapman says he felt as if choosing one of the three applicants that applied during the original time period was morally the correct decision for the council to make.