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Mayor's job changes hands again in Swanton

SWANTON - The village has its third mayor in less than a month.

Tandy Grubbs, who unsuccessfully ran for the office in 1999, was named last night by village council to fill the post held by William Belinger.

Mr. Belinger was elevated from vice mayor to mayor Dec. 26 after Gary Moore became ineligible to hold office because he moved out of the village limits. But Mr. Belinger was not interested in being mayor, which led to the ele- vation of Mr. Grubbs, 43, who is in his eighth year as a village council member. “I feel good that council had the faith in me and my experience,” he said.

It took a series of unusual actions for Mr. Belinger to step down and for Mr. Grubbs to become mayor. First, Mr. Grubbs was named vice mayor to replace Mr. Belinger. Then Mr. Belinger resigned. At that point Mr. Grubbs was promoted to mayor. That left the vice mayor's chair open again. Council voted to put Mr. Belinger back on council and reappointed him vice mayor.

“It sounds like a screwy deal, but everyone was happy,” said Councilman James “Jeff” Pilliod, who nominated Mr. Grubbs for mayor. It was the only nomination.

Mr. Grubbs ran against Mr. Moore in 1999 and lost.

Mr. Moore, in his second term, gave no warning that he was moving and would have to leave office. He divorced last year and sought a larger home in Swanton Township in which to care for his ill mother, he told officials.

Mr. Belinger, who could not be reached for comment, told Mr. Grubbs he preferred to have a voting position on council since the mayor only votes to break ties. Ironically, on two occasions in the early 1980s Mr. Belinger was named mayor under similar circumstances, only to withdraw after someone else was named, according to John Syx, village administrator.

Mr. Belinger, 61, also unsuccessfully ran against Mr. Moore for mayor during Mr. Moore's first run for the office, Mr. Syx said.

The village could have a fourth mayor in less than a year; the position will open again in the November election. Mr. Grubbs, who owns an auto supply store, said he likely will be a candidate.

“At this point I probably will do it,” he said. “I wanted it before.”

On Friday, council will be interviewing at least five candidates for Mr. Grubbs's open seat on council, Mr. Syx said.

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