DeWitte to fill Rogersville BMA vacancy

Jeff Bobo • Jan 8, 2013 at 10:37 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Rogers- ville leaders stuck with tradition Tuesday in appointing local businessman Mark DeWitte to fill a vacancy on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

But the BMA also approved the first reading of an ordinance establishing guidelines for filling future alderman vacancies.

By a 5-0 vote, DeWitte was approved Tuesday to complete the term of former Alderman Philip Beal that expires June 30. Of the unsuccessful alderman candidates in the 2009 city election, DeWitte was the highest vote-getter, failing by only 18 votes.

The BMA has traditionally filled alderman vacancies with the seventh place finisher from the most recent election to fill the six alderman seats.

However, that practice is not an official policy.

The BMA was presented Tuesday with an ordinance that authorizes it to fill vacancies on the board with any qualified person. The ordinance says nothing about a line of succession, however.

Following a brief discussion Tuesday, the BMA approved the ordinance on first reading after adding a stipulation that vacancies on the BMA won’t be filled within six months of the next municipal election.

Although appointing a replacement for Beal wasn’t on Tuesday’s BMA agenda, it was added to the agenda at the request of Alderman John Johnson. Johnson said he believes DeWitte — who showed interest in the alderman job by seeking election and regularly attend meetings — should be appointed to fill the vacancy.

Alderwoman Eloise Edwards, who was appointed to the board in 2009 through the traditional method as the seventh place finisher in the 2005 alderman race, also voiced support for appointing DeWitte.

Edwards said that with the election coming up June 1, the new ordinance for filling vacancies can be enacted by the next BMA that takes over in July.

In other news Tuesday, the BMA approved the June 1 city election schedule in which all six alderman seats and the mayoral seat will be on the ballot.

The last day to qualify as a candidate is March 21 at noon. Early voting will be May 12-24, and polling hours for the June 1 Election Day are 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

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