New City Council Member Without Application or Election

The Sandy Oaks City Council filled a vacancy on the Council on January 14, 2016 at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting.  The position, Alderman Place 4, originally belonged to Micki Ball until she become the Mayor last November and the position became vacant.

At a previous meeting on November 12, 2015, the City Council decided to fill the vacancy by appointment and set up an application process.  Paperwork could be received by the City Clerk or from the city’s website.

In the Citizens to Be Heard segment of the January 14th meeting, Charles Fillinger spoke to the Council about his application to the city.

According to Fillinger, he applied to the Alderman Place 4 position using the Spanish form because the city website wouldn’t allow him to download the English version of the form.

Fillinger said he mailed the form in time before the deadline, but received a phone call from City Clerk Charlotte Rabe on December 31, 2014, saying the form had to be notarized.  He stated

Mrs. Rabe graciously told me not to worry about it because I offered to fill out another form and bring it immediately after having it notarized.  She graciously said there’s plenty of time because we’re waiting for the rest of the applications to come in.  Sunday morning when I rose up and opened my phone, I had an instant message that stated she had forwarded my application to the mayor and it was denied because it was not notarized and she could not accept the application after December 31st.

Fillinger called the application process “faulty”, saying the city website had December 31st as the day the application was to be postmarked, not received by the city.

If the Council decided that the application had to be accepted by December 31st why does the website say it must be postmarked by December 31st?

Fillinger also said nothing in the application paperwork said anything about the papers being notarized.  He added at the end of his opportunity to speak

I feel very disappointed that I was not given any opportunity to interview with the Council.

When the Council discussed the vacancy, Mayor Micki Ball said there had only been 1 other applicant besides Fillinger.  She said Garry Bricken applied, but had already withdrawn.

Mayor Ball left it up to the Council to decide what to do, saying

At this time I will accept nominations from the Council.

Instead of choosing from the only applicant who hadn’t withdrawn, Charles Fillinger, the Council began talking about someone who had never applied.

Alderman David Tremblay nominated Melissa Matehuala.  He had a prepared resume and handed out copies to other members of the City Council.  Matehuala was in the audience, accompanied by members of her family.

Tremblay made a motion to have a rising vote, a parliamentary procedure in which those voting literally stand up (rise) to show which side they are voting on.  Alderman Karen Tanguma seconded the motion, then all 4 Aldermen voted in favor of having the rising vote.

Instead of having the rising vote, Mayor Ball congratulated Matehuala and began the process of swearing her in.

No one from the Council said a word to Fillinger, who said to a member of the audience “It’s a lawyer thing now” before getting up to leave.

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