During the Helper City Council meeting that kicked off the 2024 year, the three current councilmen were tasked with a large endeavor, which was voting in the individuals that would take the two available council seats.
There were 13 candidates that attended the meeting to vie for the positions, which Mayor Lenise Peterman explained are two-year terms. At the conclusion of two years, four-year positions would be open. This is due to the council being unable to appoint a party for more than two years. Rather, they must be voted in during the next election cycle.
Mayor Peterman also highlighted that though she would be the one that asked the questions during the interview portion, she was unable to vote. The vote had to be unanimous between the three active council members, per state law.
The candidates were escorted into another room prior to the interview in order not to give latter candidates an unfair advantage on question preparation before the interviews officially began. Questions ranged from if the candidate would be able to attend each meeting and engage in discussion to if they could set aside personal and peer interests for the best of the community and more.
One question raised was how each candidate intended to communicate with the community. Answers varied from acknowledging that respect is important and the need to truly listen. Another candidate stated that they would get out into the community and be more involved in what goes on in the public. Yet another stated that being present at the meetings and listening, as well as getting to know all the residents of the community, was crucial to communication.
Those being interviewed were then asked in what ways they have served the city or participated in events. One such individual acted as a maintenance worker for the city and wished to serve in a higher way. Others participated in community events, ran a nonprofit in Helper and the like.
At the conclusion of a lengthy interview session, the decision was made that the council members needed time to process the answers given by each candidate before a decision was officially made. Therefore, a special meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 9.
At the beginning of the special meeting, Councilman David Dornan stated that it was nice to see so many people apply and that he was surprised that so many were interested in serving on the council. He said that the decision before them was a difficult decision and he knows what it is like, as he has been on both sides of the aisle. Councilman Ed Chavez agreed it was hard as there were many good candidates and he believed they could not go wrong picking any of them.
With that said, Councilman Chavez first nominated CJ McManus for the council. However, it was not a unanimous vote. The same result came from Kathy Fausett’s nomination. However, when Cole Stapley was nominated, the decision was unanimous and he was the first welcomed to the council. Following this, Bob Olson was approved for the second seat.
Both of these new members will be sworn in at a later date, which will be arranged with Helper City Recorder Zack Tonc. In conclusion, Councilman Dornan brought up that seats for Helper City Planning and Zoning are upcoming and encouraged a continuing desire to be involved in the city.