BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST POINT – West Point city officials are looking for someone to step in and serve on the council for at least one year.
At Monday’s regular meeting of the West Point City Council, Mayor Paul Walker accepted the resignation of Councilman Shawn Bales, who’s moving out of the city limits and can no longer serve on the council according to city code.
Bales told the council it has been his family’s dream to own a home in the country and his family has purchased a home in a rural part of the country, but it requires him to step off the council.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these past three years working along side all of you to ensure that West Point continues to be a strong and vibrant community,” Bales said reading from a prepared statement. “West Point has many exciting projects in the near future and I firmly believe with the leadership the city has right now the city will drive forward as strong as ever.”
Walker said he was sorry to see Bales go, but was happy he was able to realize his dream of a country home.
The city will now enter a 60-day window to replace him on the council.
“We’re going to ask citizens to come forward and we’ll to start advertise for that and then cut it off the Friday before our next council meeting,” Walker said. “At that point of time if we get one, two or three people or whatever, the Policy and Administration committee will have interviews with the candidates and then we’ll have a special meeting before the October meeting so we can appoint someone at that time.”
State code also provides for a petition process where a resident can petition the city with the required number of signatures to hold an election for the vacant seat.
“This window also gives someone 60 days to petition the city for a special election. That election would cost about $4,000,” Walker said. “If a petition is received, the city, at that point, would not be permitted to appoint someone.”
The mayor said he was sad to see Shawn leave the council.
“Shawn has really come a long ways in three years and I’m sorry to see him go,” Walker said.
But Walker said he regularly receives comments on how clean the city is and how well its run.
“We set the bar a little higher than most towns. I tell people all the time, ‘Show me a town of 1,000 people that has a square like ours. You’re probably not going to find one’,” he said. “When we have something going on, people get behind it and we roll with it instead of having controversy all the time about can we do this or can’t we do this. Somebody makes a decision and you go with it, right or wrong, and that seems to be working. Shawn, thanks for being a part of that.”
In other action, Mayor Walker presented former City Administrator Gary Menke with a certificate of appreciation. Menke resigned from the position in August and Dennis McGregor has taken the job. McGregor told the council that August was spent getting up to speed with city staff and properties and he was looking forward to helping the city move forward.