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In Cornelius, an obvious choice for a new mayor

Outside the council chambers Jeff Dalin became the go-to guy ...

Thankfully, last week's vote in Cornelius wasn't even close. Voters made it clear (by a more than 2-1 margin) that they want an end to the acrimony and infighting that has bedeviled city hall since Team 3 took office in January.

The wide vote margin for recalling Mayor Neal Knight and Councilors Jamie Minshall and Mari Gottwald means there will be no recount needed and no credible argument against a mandate for change.

Now, all that's left is to find three replacements to pick up the pieces and move the city forward.

That task will fall to the remaining two councilors, Jef Dalin and Steve Heinrich.

Knight's ouster, Dalin, as council president, takes the title of acting mayor. But in truth, Dalin has been running the show for the past nine months. On the council, he helped Knight negotiate Roberts Rules of Order and coached Minshall and Gottwald on their duties. And when tempers flared between Heinrich and the others, it was Dalin who found middle ground, or at least a safe exit.

Outside the council chambers, Dalin became the go-to guy for regional leaders who found in Team 3 a trio of elected officials unable or unwilling to bring anything of substance to the table.

So, as Dalin and Heinrich ponder who should be named Cornelius mayor, we encourage them to make the obvious choice.

We don't know if Dalin wants the job (he's not lobbied us for the post and we've not discussed the idea with him), but if he does, those involved should find a way to make it happen.

As for the the other council slots, we'll keep our meddling to a minimum and simply note that it would be a mistake to appoint anyone the voters rejected last fall.

Dozens of residents showed passion and poise as they opposed the firing of former City Manager Dave Waffle. Their ranks would be a good recruitment pool.

Many of them (Sheila Griffie, Vickie Cordell, Amy Sheckla-Cox, Alfredo Solares-Vega and others) have served on city panels before and would bring some experience and community connections to the council.

But there are others who had never been involved in Cornelius matters who may offer new perspectives and fresh ideas.

Whoever ends up in those three chairs should avoid any calls to simply return to where things were.

That's not only impossible (Waffle has taken a full-time job in Beaverton) but also unwise.

A year ago, Knight, Minshall and Gottwald were elected on a promise to reduce government fees and, if necessary, trim government regulations.

The vote last week indicates that Team 3 may have gone too far, or veered off-course, but it doesn't mean Knight's supporters are all wrong.

It will be tough for the new council to hire a manager and point the city in a new direction while heeding the lessons of the last two elections. But we think that in Dalin, it has the leader it needs to pull it off.