By Jared Janzen
HALSTEAD—Halstead City Council approved the appointments of George Torres and Sam Farmer to the council Wednesday afternoon, filling both vacant positions that had been open since Nov. 14. Each vote passed 2-1, with council member Dennis Travis dissenting.
Mayor Bill Ewert first nominated George Torres to fill the seat of former council member Jere Dean with term expiring in January 2020. Ewert noted Torres’s previous experience on the council as a reason for the nomination.
“I have previously served on this governing body with George during my first term as mayor, and I am confident that he will make decisions that are best for this city.”
Council member Phil Adams made a motion for approval that was seconded by council member Ed Campbell, but when Ewert asked if there was further discussion, Travis said he would like to discuss it further.
“There were six to seven candidates that expressed interest in running in the next election,” he said. “I’d like to know why their requests weren’t considered.”
Ewert responded that his recommendation of the two candidates was because of their past experience.
Travis then asked what Torres’s motivation was for wanting to return to the council after deciding not to run for reelection three years ago. Ewert said that Torres had told him that he missed it and that he had enjoyed serving as a council member in the past and saw this as an opportunity to serve his city again on the council.
Adams added that Torres’s experience could be helpful as the city decides what to do with the former Presbyterian Church building, which was purchased by the city over the summer as a new community center.
Ewert restated that he thought Torres was an “excellent” candidate and then called for a vote. Campbell and Adams voted in favor and Travis voted against. The motion carried.
Ewert’s second nomination was Sam Farmer, who is currently chairman of the planning commission. Farmer fills the seat vacated by Roger Lowery with a term set to expire January 2018.
“Through his many years on the planning commission, Sam has demonstrated his ability and dedication as a public servant,” Ewert said. “I know he will do a superb job on the city council and that he will have the city’s best interest in mind when making decisions.”
Once again, Adams made a motion and Campbell seconded. This time there was no further discussion, but the vote went the same way with Travis opposed.
Both Torres and Farmer will be sworn in as council members at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12 prior to the city’s regularly scheduled council meeting at 7 p.m.
After the meeting, Travis told the Independent that he would comment at a later time.
The two appointments get the city out of a sticky situation of not being able to hold a meeting with just three members. A 1997 charter ordinance sets the council’s quorum at four members. The council had been unable to hold its regular meeting Nov. 28 because of this.