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Posted September 9, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Council will fill vacant position

Interested party to be appointed at Sept. 29 meeting

By Elizabeth Wilkerson -- ewilkerson@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- The Town Council will appoint someone to fill former Vice Mayor Carlyle Swafford's vacant seat at a special meeting on Sept. 29.

At Tuesday's council meeting, Mayor Tim Taylor said Swafford, whose resignation was effective Aug. 23, had to leave the panel because he took a job in Philadelphia. Though he served for a relatively short time, Swafford will be sorely missed, Taylor said.

The council has 45 days from Swafford's resignation -- until Oct. 6 -- to appoint his successor, who will serve until June 30, 2010, when a newly elected council member will join the panel, Taylor said. In the May 2010 election, the council will be filling five, rather than the usual four, seats, Taylor said, and the fifth-place finisher will fill Swafford's unexpired term.

The council has decided to have people interested in filling Swafford's seat complete an application, he said. If the candidates choose to do so, they can appear at an informal candidates forum and speak, he said.

Appearing at the forum is not mandatory, Taylor said, and the appointment will be made at a special council meeting on a different night. At its October meeting, the council will appoint a new vice mayor, since Swafford also served in that capacity, he said.

Later in the meeting, Councilman Robert Baker asked whether the panel should settle the question of when applications would be due before setting a date for the candidates forum. Taylor suggested having the applications due the day of the forum.

After some discussion, the group decided the forum will be held Sept. 24 at 7 p.m., and the special council meeting, at which the appointment will be made, will take place Sept. 29 at 8:30 p.m. Applications must be submitted to the town office by 5 p.m. on Sept. 24.

At the forum, Taylor said, the candidates will have about five minutes each to speak, and the council will have the opportunity to ask questions. Councilman Richard Redmon said he thought the candidates should be able to ask the council members questions as well.

"I want them to know what they're getting into," Redmon said, drawing laughs from the crowd. Taylor said the forum would be an "informal back and forth."

Councilman Donald Le Vine said his understanding was that a candidate would need four votes to be appointed. But, he said, the panel could end up in a situation where no one candidate has four votes, and it needs to establish a process to deal with that situation if it arises.

"We'll have it all set on the 29th," Taylor said.

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