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Published: Thursday, 5/25/2006

Delta looks to fill empty council seat

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DELTA - Delta Village Council is accepting applications through May 30 to fill the council seat that Jerry Edwards resigned last week citing out-of-control diabetes that he fears is made worse by stress.

Council is expected to discuss the appointment at its June 5 meeting and might name a replacement June 19.

The departure of Mr. Edwards, 69, a Democrat who was on council for just under 2 1/2 years, marks the sixth turnover on the six-member council in less than two years.

The turnovers - thought to be the most in 20 years - started when Helen Jones, who had been a council member since 1998, died late in the summer of 2004.

Council chose Cathy Buehrer, wife of State Rep. Steve Buehrer (R., Delta), to replace Mrs. Jones.

Less than a year later in the summer of 2005, Harold Schondel resigned after uttering what was considered an ethnic slur in reference to the Fulton County sanitary engineer during a public meeting.

Council appointed Paul Fournier to replace him on Aug. 1.

Then in November, voters ousted Allan McQuillin and Frank Wilton in favor of Rose Butz and Keith Lantz.

In that election, which had seven candidates running for three seats, Mrs. Buehrer kept the seat to which she had been appointed. But she resigned just over three months later in mid-February. And in March, council appointed Lynn Frank to take her seat.

That leaves Marcy LeFevre as the only council member with more than 10 months' experience. She was elected in 1999 and re-elected in 2003.

The frequent turnovers mean council is spending more time studying issues before acting. That's partly because most members have little history in their position, Ms. LeFevre said, but also because they appear to have a big interest in brain-storming many options to problems.

"I think we'll probably be looking at things more in-depth. That's what the new people bring to the table," she said.

Mayor Don Gerdes has more years than Ms. LeFevre at the council table. In fact, he was a councilman 20 years when the greatest turnover on council in recent years is thought to have taken place.

At the July 21, 1986, meeting, then-Mayor Bernard Spangler read a letter announcing his resignation and the resignation of Councilmen James Kesler and Raymond Sindel, clerk-treasurer Julie McKibben, and deputy clerk and tax administrator Debra Leitner.

The resignations followed a dispute over who to hire as village administrator; those who departed used other village leaders of "being generally nonattentive, passing notes, and making faces."



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