As the saying goes, the world keeps moving and things keep changing. That’s true here in Claremore, where we have a change in the City Council. Councilor Susan Kirtley, who has served Ward 1 since 2013, is moving outside Ward 1 and has resigned her position as councilwoman effective Sept. 15.
With her departure an opening becomes available, and I want to spend this column highlighting the process, procedures and attributes that make up a vibrant city council.
To begin with, I want the residents of Claremore to know that we are looking for a diverse pool of candidates for the Council, to help inform and engage the work the City does to make Claremore the best place to live, work and play in Oklahoma.
A little background on the city council: It is made up of eight individuals, two from each of the four Wards in Claremore. The mayor is also part of the Council.
The election of council members is held on the first Tuesday of April in each odd-numbered year. Under the first election of the city charter, eight council members were elected; the candidate from each ward receiving the greatest number of votes served for a term of four years, and the candidate from each ward receiving the next greatest number of votes served for a term of two years. After that, all council members elected serve for four-year terms. That is why there are differing dates on when council member terms are up. The terms of all Council members begin the first Council meeting in May after their election, and the Council members serve until their successor is elected and qualified.
In the case of councilor Kirtley’s resignation from the council, city leaders will interview prospective candidates for the position to fill the remaining time of her term, which expires in April 2021.
In this particular case, the Council has voted on the following timeline to follow city charter procedures and guidelines of the law:
• Letters of interest will be accepted until Sept. 24
• Letters of interest will be distributed to the Council on Sept. 25
• The interview process will begin on Oct. 5
As for eligibility, those interested in applying for the position should have been a resident of their ward for at least 90 days and a resident of the City of Claremore for at least six months. They must also be a registered voter.
Other councilors also have terms that are set to expire in April 2021. These include Councilors Justin Michael from Ward 2; Councilor Ken Hays from Ward 3; and Councilor Will DeMier from Ward 4.
The remaining Councilors have terms that are up in 2023.
I want to take this time to thank Councilor Kirtley for her service to the residents of Claremore. As she has publicly said, it was a positive learning experience to serve those living and working in the community.
I hope others will follow suit and submit their letters of interest for the open position. Claremore needs our residents to come together and think strategically about how to best move our city forward. I look forward to the process.
As always, please continue to tune in to our regular City Council meetings on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/ClaremoreCity or watch for announcements through the Facebook page and other mediums. Also check out our Claremore Cares column under the Residents’ section of our website to see all of the wonderful things people are doing in our community.
I will continue to welcome your feedback, ideas and vision for the City. Reach out to me at email@example.com.
Have a wonderful week!
John Feary is the acting City Manager for Claremore.