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Five applicants seek Quinby's seat on Fairview Council


Councilor's husband among applicants seeking position

It’s too early to start making judgment calls on who will fill Ken Quinby’s position on the Fairview City Council. The deadline for applications is Dec. 31, but one name already seems to be raising some eyebrows.

So far, five candidates have submitted applications for Council Position No. 2: Jeffrey Arnold, Brian Cooper, Ted Tosterud, Balwant Bhullar and Keith Kudrna.

The first three councilors also have applied for appointment or reappointment to one or more committees and commissions.

The deadline for those ended and await councilors’ decisions at the Dec. 4 meeting.

There is still a month left for people to apply to the open council seat, which Fairview intends to fill on Jan. 15.

Some have called to question the ethics of Jeffrey Arnold’s intent to run for a Fairview council seat when his wife, Tamie Arnold, is already on the council.

“I was initially shocked to see he had submitted his name in that role,” said Councilor Steve Owen. “Personally, I just don’t think its logical, and I’m not really sure what the motive would be to do that.”

Arnold also has applied for every committee and commission with an open position.

He is the current vice chairman of the Arts and Community Events Advisory Committee (his wife is council liaison), and a current member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

Fairview Council President Lisa Barton Mullins also commented on Jeff Arnold running for the council while his wife is on the council.

“I feel it is unethical. The council is supposed to be made up of seven individual people,” she said.

As it is normal for a husband and wife to talk, Barton Mullins said, “They are obviously going to be discussing council business all the time.”

Having a husband and wife serve together on a city council is not a violation of law, said Maja Haium, assistant general counsel at the League of Oregon Cities.

“There is no statutory prohibition against spouses sitting on the same council,” Haium said.

Further, she said it’s not unheard of.

“They are two separate people,” Haium said. “Coalitions form on any council that is made up of entirely different individuals. Quite often it’s the community who decides on who they want to elect to the council and who they think will best represent their interests.”

Jeffrey Arnold said he doesn’t see a problem with him serving on the council with his wife.

“Right now there’s no rules to prohibit a spouse from serving on a committee like I do, or having a council appoint a spouse to the same position,” he said.

Arnold said both times when the council appointed him to the Arts and Community Events Advisory Committee and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, his wife abstained from the votes.

“It was the rest of the council that decided to put me on those committees,” Arnold said.

“If there were any sort of conflicts while I was on council between her and I, then one of us or I’d abstain,” he said.

“I think it’s important that there are as many names as possible to file for this position,” Arnold said.

He believes the most qualified candidate should win. “If it’s me that’s great, if it’s someone else, then I want the most qualified person to win.”

In his application, Arnold said serving as vice chairman of the arts and events committee and a member of parks committee the past few months has given him the experience working with others on Fairview’s committees.

As for his motivation, he stated, “We have several potential events coming up over the next several months. I would like to continue to help move these forward and create new events for our city. I believe we can do this in a way that minimizes the financial impact on our city.”

Owen is not so convinced that a husband and wife on the council is the best idea.

“The reality is, there’s a lot of things that come before council that require an unbiased way of arriving at a decision,” Owen said. It’s “highly questionable” that two people living under the same roof wouldn’t form opinions together before attending a meeting, he added.

Owen said he’s not sure the presence of a married couple on the Fairview City Council would do anything to help ease the current divide on the council.

On the other hand, he’s excited about the heightened interest for people wanting to serve when “historically, there hasn’t been a lot of interest.”

Fairview Mayor Mike Weatherby said he wasn’t aware of it, but the possibility of a husband and wife on the council is something he would have to strongly consider.

“There are several candidates, and I really don’t know if there would be an issue for the people voting for them,” Weatherby said.

With one vacancy and six councilors voting, a candidate needs to pull four votes to be appointed, he said.

However, having a spouse on the council could impact the number of votes, said City Administrator Samantha Nelson.

Although it has not yet been confirmed with the city attorney, she said, “If Councilor (Tamie) Arnold has to withdraw from that process, then there would only be five members, so three votes is what would be needed.”