It appears that the Fourth Ward City Council seat will remain open for an extended period of time since no eligible resident of the ward submitted a letter of interest prior to the 10 a.m. deadline on Friday, Nov. 21.

It appears that the Fourth Ward City Council seat will remain open for an extended period of time since no eligible resident of the ward submitted a letter of interest prior to the 10 a.m. deadline on Friday, Nov. 21.

“We had a few people come in and pick up the papers, but no one brought them back,” said Becky Graves, deputy city clerk.

What happens now?

“I’m just finding out about it,” said Mayor Roy Hark regarding the lack of interested candidates shortly after 11 a.m. Friday.

Later, as he departed City Hall, Hark indicated he would be discussing the situation with other members of the Council and with City Attorney James Lemon.

The tentative time line established by the Council would have seen a candidate forum and the selection of a new Council representative occur on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

The individual chosen would have served until the next regular municipal election in April 2015 when he/she must be elected to serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Even if a new Council representative isn’t chosen until early in 2015, that person would still have to appear on the ballot in April and defeat any challengers in order to retain the seat.

The Fourth Ward vacancy was created when Barry Louderman moved to southwest Missouri. Louderman’s last Council meeting was Oct. 21.

 

Past interest

 

The current lack of interest in the Fourth Ward Council seat is in sharp contrast to the last time it came open unexpectedly following the September 2008 death of Jim Dexheimer, who represented the South Side as a member of the Council for 25 years. At that time Louderman was one of six people who sought the Council appointment. Also expressing interest in the vacancy at that time were Bowen "Bo" Duffy, Jerry Irick, Sandra Lane, Linda Wheatley-Coleberd and Melanie Powell.

On a unanimous vote of the Council, Louderman was selected to the post on Nov. 18, 2008.

The appointment was good until the next municipal election in April 2009, when the seat came open to anyone in that ward interested in serving out the remainder of the term that expired in April 2010.

Louderman ran unopposed in 2010, earning his first three-year term. He was unopposed again when he was up for re-election in April 2013.

The last appointment to fill an unexpired term on the Hannibal City Council came in November 2012 after Dr. Richard Draper, citing time demands of a new job, resigned midway through his first term as a member of the Council.

This will be the fifth time in six years that City Council members have needed to appoint someone to fill a vacant Council seat. Prior to 2012, when Jamie Locke was selected to fill the Sixth Ward vacancy created by Draper’s resignation, an appointment was necessary just two years earlier. James Hark was picked in August 2010 to fill the Fifth Ward vacancy created when Jim Behymer resigned in June of that year. Council appointments were also necessary after the deaths of Dexheimer (2008) and Kyle Wilson (2009).

However, in none of those instances did no one seek the vacant Council seat.