Commission set to consider Hinebauch for Houck vacancy

The City Commission has scheduled a vote for their Nov. 16 meeting to appoint Eric Hinebauch to the commission to fill the vacancy created by Tracy Houck.

Houck announced her resignation on Nov. 4 to be effective Nov. 5 and under the city charter, “when a vacancy occurs, the City Commission may, by majority vote of its remaining members, appoint a person, eligible to hold such office, to fill the vacancy of the city commissioner or mayor until the next regular city election. The person elected at the next regular city election shall serve the unexpired term of the office in which the vacancy occurred.”

Houck resigning from City Commission

State law requires that the vacancy be filled within 30 days.

The city charter nor state law specify the process by which the city should fill a vacancy on the commission.

Election 2021: Results

“Several members of the City Commission have individually indicated a willingness to consider the appointment of the individual with the third-highest vote count in the election recently conducted,” according to the staff report.

Hinebauch had the third highest vote count, after Susan Wolff and Joe McKenney, who will be sworn in to their four-year commission terms in January.

It’s a departure from the process the city used the last time there was a vacancy when Mary Jolley resigned at Bob Kelly was appointed in 2012.

In that case, the city opened the position for applications the day after Jolley announced her retirement. It was not a city election year. The city conducted interviews and appointed Kelly within a month.

In the case of Houck’s resignation, it took a week for the commissioners to announce a course of action.

According to the staff report, Hinebauch has been contacted and said he is willing to accept an appointment to the commission.

If appointed, he would serve until the next city election in 2023, when he would have to run to stay on the commission.