After reading the relevant portion of the City Charter that says vacancies on the City Council "shall" be filled, Rye City Mayor Doug French moved to appoint Julia Killian to the seat vacated by Suzanna Keith , specific criteria for the selection or the three candidates in particular.
That motion was seconded by Councilmember Joe Sack and Killian's appointment passed by five votes, with the abstention of Councilmember Catherine Parker.
At the last meeting, . Zahm suggested the Council consider possibly leaving the seat vacant or disallowing the replacement from seeking election to a full term.
Corporation Counsel Kristen Wilson confirmed that the council was not obligated to fill the seat.
Prior to voting, several of the councilmembers expressed their opinion of the appointment decision and public perception that has swirled around it.
Councilmember Parker, who said during the last meeting the seat should remain vacant, tried to offer her own motion to keep the seat open.
"I would actually like to see a motion that the council vote in favor of keeping the seat open until the public can make a decision," said Parker. "We’ve had three people come forward and that sounds like an election."
Parker was referring to , and . Mehler's supporters were the only ones who sent letters of recommendation to the council, Parker said, noting their enthusiasm for him.
The post was corrected without notation later that same day. Several residents and one of the candidates did see the erroneous report and commented.
Councilmember Laura Brett directly addressed the public commentary that has swirled since Julia Killian stepped forward for the seat.
"It's unfair to assume that anyone pre-decided, I know I haven’t," said Brett. "[Prior to expressing an interest in serving on the council,] I knew [Julia Killian] as someone who gave herself tirelessly to the community…I think this process has been open and fair."
Since coming forward, Killian, who characterized herself as non-partisan, drew fire after a local blogger posted her history of significant financial contributions to Republican party candidates in various campaigns. Killian has already said she will seek election for the council in the regular election.
In his remarks, Councilmember Richard Filippi took a bit of a swipe at critics. "There has been criticism from a different area, but those are from the people who never step up and volunteer," Filippi said."I'm going to make my decision tonight…I'm not a member of any party."
Each of the three members spent over an hour talking with Councilmember Peter Jovanovich who thanked them for their time and interest.
Councilmember Joe Sack also addressed those who came forward to serve, "I want to thank all three people who came forward," said Sack. "Any of the three could have done the job."
Mayor French also issued a proclamation thanking former Councilmember Suzanna Keith for her public service to the City fo Rye which included service on the Rye City school board.