After recall, whats next in Cornelius?
- Christian Gaston
- Forest Grove News-Times - News
Remaining councilors must seat three replacements, then begin the search for a new city manager, lobby Metro for land and figure out finances
Last Tuesday, Cornelius voters threw out a quorum of its city council in a citywide recall election. Now, it's up to the remaining city councilors to figure out what's next.
The first step is to pick who they'll serve with.
With a 2-to-1 vote last week, voters ousted Mayor Neal Knight and city councilors Jamie Minshall and Mari Gottwald. The three campaigned last fall as 'Team 3,' and represented the majority of the five-member city council.
Now, Team 3 will officially leave office Monday, Oct. 10. And it's up to the remaining councilors, council president Jef Dalin and city councilors Steve Heinrich, to find replacements.
The recall was the latest political twist in a whirlwind six months in the small town. In June, Team 3 voted to fire city manager Dave Waffle, which fueled the recall effort.
Now, the city council has a packed agenda ahead of it as Dalin and Heinrich steer the city through the rest of the year.
Extenuating circumstances make a quorum of two
Generally, the city council needs three members to form a quorum - a legal voting bloc - but due to the recall, the city's lawyers believe the city can operate with just two council members. That means Dalin, who will sit at the city council dais Monday, Oct. 10 as acting mayor, and Heinrich will sort out how to fill the empty seats that Team 3 once filled.
How, exactly, that process will work will be determined at the Oct. 10 city council session.
In the past, the city has collected applications from interested citizens, with the city council picking from the applicant pool.
Dalin said he expects the process to be the same this time around.
First, though, Dalin and Heinrich will have to figure out who will serve as mayor.
The pair could appoint Dalin as mayor. But Dalin said with a demanding work schedule and young kids, he's not sure if he could commit to the job if it was offered to him.
'I've had lots of encouragement from people to do that but I have to genuinely sit down and think about it,' Dalin said, 'because it's an awesome level of responsibility.'
Busy months ahead
Whoever winds up in the mayor's seat will have a busy winter.
On top of finding three new council members, the city council needs to:
• Finish a review of the city's legal services contract, a process begun after Team 3 moved to cut ties with the city's current legal counsel.
• Find a new city manager to replace Waffle, who is now working for the city of Beaverton and won't seek his old job.
• Review the city's fall tax receipts.
• Lobby Metro, the regional government for an expansion to the UGB.
• Review an investigation into violations of the city charter by Knight, expected to conclude this month.
• Adopt a set of goals for the new city council, a document that will guide city staff in the months ahead.
'We're still trying to figure out some financial things,' Dalin said.
During the last six months, the city has racked up something on the order of $150,000 in unanticipated expenses, from Waffle's firing to the search for new legal counsel.