By Chris Hendrickson
Mike Stanger, whose campaign against Jeff Rasmussen for a council seat was unsuccessful this fall, will hold a planning commission seat instead.
Monroe Mayor Robert Zimmerman brought forth Mike Stanger as his appointment selection for a vacant seat on the Planning Commission.
“He has a good understanding of how to lead as well as how to work cohesively with a group,” said Zimmerman.
Earlier in the year, Stanger, 48, sought city council Position 3, which was won by former Parks Board member Jeff Rasmussen. He will be sworn in after the first of the year.
Stanger submitted a letter expressing his interest in serving on the Planning Commission on Dec. 5.
“As you know, I am a 16-year resident of Monroe, have raised my family here, and love our community,” wrote Stanger. “As such, I have a vested interest in Monroe’s economic future.”
Stanger has 25 years of experience working in the computer technology field for such companies as Microsoft, Novell and Corel.
“I believe my expertise in planning, negotiation, and risk management could benefit our community while serving in this role,” wrote Stanger.
Councilmember Kurt Goering moved to approve the mayor’s appointment, his motion seconded by Councilmember Jim Kamp.
Councilmember Patsy Cudaback, however, expressed reservations to the mayor and council.
“Mayor, I did have a few community members who expressed some concern about this; doing the appointment tonight,” said Cudaback.
She went on to clarify that the application deadline listed on the city’s website states that the application period for the planning commission position wouldn’t close until Dec. 20. She questioned filling the position before that date.
Mayor Zimmerman explained that it was a miscommunication between himself and city staff. Originally, the closing date on the position was earlier than Dec. 20 but due to a lack of applicants, the application period was prolonged. Zimmerman said that he had only been recently made aware that it had been extended through Dec. 20.
Mayor Zimmerman stated that it was his prerogative to continue with the appointment of Stanger.
Cudaback held the floor and continued discussion.
“It has nothing to do with his qualifications… I think he’s probably a really good candidate,” said Cudaback. “My concern is filling the position before the end date, which is the 20th, listed publicly on our website. I think it’s a matter of bad policy to fill the position before it closes. We might have some other candidates who are interested.”
“I know it is your prerogative to bring it forward now. I’m not disputing that. But I will not be voting for this tonight,” said Cudaback.
Mayor Zimmerman stated that he was firm in his decision.
“I feel very comfortable with this,” said Zimmerman.
Zimmerman sought the opinion of city attorney Zach Lell, who informed council that since rules of appointment are not expressly dictated by city ordinance or state law, there was very little chance of the early appointment being problematic in a legal sense.
Lell stated that council could move to table the issue until the advertisement process was completed.
Councilmember Tom Williams expressed a desire to postpone the vote, stating that he would vote no on the appointment motion if it carried.
“I’d rather not vote on it tonight, because I don’t want it to be seen as a vote against Mr. Stanger,” said Williams. “I think he’s probably very qualified.”
Councilmember Jason Gamble agreed that the vote should wait, and he would be in favor of a motion to table the appointment action until after Dec. 20.
Kamp was in favor of carrying forward with the motion to accept the appointment.
“This is the mayor’s prerogative,” said Kamp.
“I think it would be uncalled for to not have a vote on him tonight per the mayor’s request. This is his determination,” Kamp continued.
The motion to confirm the mayor’s appointment of Mike Stanger to Monroe’s Planning Commission passed 4 to 3, with Hanford, Kamp, Davis and Goering in favor; and Cudaback, Williams and Gamble dissenting.
Zimmerman had been a staunch supporter of Stanger during the autumn election process, sending letters to Monroe voters in support of Stanger and others.