Four Tapped as Finalists For Leesburg Council Vacancy

The Leesburg Town Council has narrowed to four the list of candidates it will consider to fill the vacant seat.

Mayor Kelly Burk’s election in November created the vacancy on the council. She had  two years remaining on  her council term. While a special election, either in the spring or during November’s general election, will ultimately allow voters to select the replacement, someone must fill the seat until  an elected  council member is sworn in.

The outgoing Town Council voted on a process to appoint a new council member. Each council member was asked to select a top three from the list of 13 town residents who put their hat in the ring for the interim appointment. Of that list, four received the most votes and will be asked to make a brief presentation to council members at their Jan. 9 organizational meeting.

The selected candidates are Jed Babbin, Rusty Foster, Hugh Forsythe, and Gwen Pangle.

Pangle finished fourth behind the three council members elected in November, and has also indicated an interest in possibly running in the special election sometime this year. She and the three others being considered for the council seat are heavily involved in both town government and community organizations. Babbin is a member of the town’s Diversity Commission, Foster a member of the Commission on Public Art, and Forsythe chairs the board of directors of the Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers.

Following the candidates’ presentations at the Jan. 9 meeting, the council is expected to deliberate and may vote to appoint one of the candidates to fill the vacant council seat until the special election is held. Four votes are needed to select a new council member. At the same meeting, the council is also expected to discuss, and may decide on, the date of the special election. Council members have up to 90 days from when the council vacancy was created – Dec. 31, 2016 – to appoint a new council member. They have far less time — only 15 days from when the vacancy was created — to petition the Circuit Court for a writ of election to set a special election date.

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