June 12, 2013 —
In two special meetings last week, Olive Hill City Council appointed two new members to fill vacant seats left open by recent resignations.
Members of the community interested in filling the Council seats were encouraged to attend the meetings and address the town’s governing body with the reasons why they would be a good choice for the positions.
Four individuals put their names in for consideration: former bayor and Council member Gayle Smith, local volunteer firefighter Matt Kiser, Olive Hill EMS Supervisor Randall Tackett and John Newsome, longtime civic volunteer and employee of King’s Daughters’ Medical Center.
On Wednesday night, Council unanimously voted to appoint Kiser to fill one of the two vacancies. He was immediately sworn in and seated on the Council.
Thursday night’s meeting, however, was wrought with confusion and tension concerning the filling of the second vacancy.
At the beginning of the meeting, Council member Glenn Meade nominated Newsome, who was not able to attend the meeting due to a prior commitment, to fill the second vacancy. Enoch Hicks seconded the motion and it was put to a vote.
Meade and Hicks voted in favor of Newsome, while Allen Stapleton voted against. Kiser initially responded “yes” when called on for his vote, but after Stapleton cast his vote against Newsome, the newly-appointed Council member quietly asked Stapleton about his vote and then indicated that he didn’t understand the process.
Kiser then cast his vote against Newsome, deadlocking the Council because Jerry Callihan was not present at the meeting.
Mayor Kenny Fankell indicated that he is unable to break ties on Council appointments.
Stapleton nominated Randall Tackett as his choice to fill the lone remaining Council seat. Kiser quickly seconded the motion.
Meade and Hicks, visibly frustrated by the turn of events, quietly conferred with each other before the vote. Meade then addressed Stapleton about his nomination.
“I don’t want to drag this process out any further. We need to fill this seat tonight. I’m always the one who has to give in and it looks like I’m going to have to do it again,” Meade said.
Council then unanimously approved the appointment of Tackett to fill the last remaining Council seat. He was sworn in on the spot and the meeting was immediately adjourned.
The next regular meeting of Olive Hill City Council is set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, at the Olive Hill Senior Community Center.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.