Editor: At the Jan. 12 Leesburg Town Council meeting, there was an important agenda item that required a council vote on how to move forward on filling the vacant mayor position. Four times the council voted on the nomination of a current council member and four times the vote failed.
This outcome left the council divided and with no clear picture of how future discussions will productively proceed. The citizens of the Town of Leesburg should be very concerned about the potential negative ramifications of not having an interim mayor for 90 days.
The town of Leesburg is now in a position of having a mayor selected through a job search process conducted by the Town Council or a Circuit Court Judge, with no predictable outcomes as to the quality or number of candidates.
The council voted to continue its discussion at its next work session and the likely route it will attempt to choose at the next council meeting is the open application process for the public to submit resumes. If none of these applicants get four votes, the Circuit Court judge could be the ultimate decision maker.
My sense is that if the Town Council conducts a selection process, the voting will be along the same partisan positions I witnessed last night with the Town Council members seeking to protect their own seats or blocking any appointment within the current council. We cannot afford to waste the time and the reputations of good people seeking to serve.
Last night, I spoke at the town council meeting in favor of any current council member being appointed to this important seat. The town deserves a better selection process than a job search that would be political in nature with too many important issues at stake just to select a “place holder.”
The inability of our current council to move past personal or partisan issues to support the needs of the town is why we all must attend the next Town Council meeting on Jan. 26 at 7:30 pm.
Vice Mayor Kelly Burk and Councilman Dave Butler are to be commended for their leadership and willingness to have their names placed forward for consideration only to be denied the interim mayor position because they did not achieve the four required votes.
Now through March among the major Leesburg issues facing the Town Council are road projects, courthouse expansion, land development and the next two-year budget.
How this important open seat in Leesburg will be filled is an urgent situation that must be discussed with the community for open dialogue. We must publicly hold our town council members accountable to listen and to act.
Please join me to petition the Town Council members to move forward with a fair, nonpartisan and open process deserving of the importance of being the mayor of Leesburg.
Our town deserves more than a “placeholder” or a “meeting coordinator” to serve as mayor for the next 11 months.
Ron Campbell, Leesburg