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Mayor appoints Ward 4 rep

The appointment of BrendaLee Lyell-Keate by Creston Mayor Gary Lybarger to fill the ward 4 vacancy was approved by Creston City Council during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.

The vacancy has remained open since Oct. 16, when Marsha Wilson, former ward 4 representative, resigned.

As the council votes to fill the vacancy, mayor Gary Lybarger suggests more people get involved in future elections.

“State law allows a mayor to appoint an individual to fill a vacant city council position within 60 days of a resignation versus having the expense of creating a special election,” said Terry Freeman, Creston at-large representative. “If the vacancy isn’t filled within 60 days, a special election would need to be held.”

Freeman explained the appointment fills the vacancy for the remainder of the term, which expires December 31, 2019, following the next regular city election. The individual filling the seat would need to run for election in November 2019 should they want to continue.

Lybarger said the process of choosing a person to appoint for the Ward 4 City Council vacancy is similar to conducting a job interview, which Freeman said involves the mayor and city administrator reviewing applications, conducting interview and selecting the individual to fill the seat. City council members then vote to approve the selection.

Freeman said when he was appointed in 2016, he was asked questions about why he wanted the position and what his goals are for the city.

Lybarger said Lyell-Keate, who is a member of the Creston Planning and Zoning Commission, had good answers to questions on improving the city and “knew a little more of the ins and outs of the city.”

Role of a rep

“A city council member works with their fellow council members, much like a smaller version of a state or federal legislation, to approve/amend changes in city ordinances and processes that are used to govern the city,” explained Freeman.

Lybarger says it’s a “hard press” to get people to run for city council.

Freeman said that being a city council member means a lot to him. “One of the things I never really considered before I applied for the chance to be appointed, was the time commitment. Not only does one need to study the materials for city council meetings, one also has to be prepared for their service to subcommittees. To do it right requires a lot of time to dedicate to reading and studying. There is a lot to learn.”

“If they want to get on the team, all they need to do is step up,” said Lybarger. “Change is something we need. A lot of people don’t want to change, but change is the only way we’re going to advance.”

Lyell-Keate will be sworn in Dec. 16 during the council’s next meeting.

Creston City Council meets the 6 p.m. on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month on the second floor of Creston’s Restored Depot, 116 W. Adams St. Agendas and minutes can be found on the city’s website, crestoniowa.gov.

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