The City Council will hold a special meeting Thursday to try to resolve a standoff between council members over a vacant council seat in the Heights.
If the council doesn't fill the open seat by Friday, which is 30 days after Joy Stevens resigned from the council, the matter will be resolved by a special election in early 2009.
The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 210 N. 27th St.
The open seat in Ward 2 will be the only matter discussed at the meeting, and members of the public will have three minutes each to comment on the issue.
The council voted Monday night to hold the special meeting after it became apparent that Mayor Ron Tussing wouldn't nominate anyone for the seat. Two weeks ago, the council rejected his appointment of Angela Cimmino, as most council members want the mayor to appoint former councilman Larry Brewster.
Seven council members sent Tussing a letter recently in which they asked him to appoint Brewster to avoid the special election, which is estimated to cost about $20,000. If the seat is filled with a special election, the winner probably won't begin until February, and the seat is up for election in November 2009.
Tussing said he wouldn't make another appointment until he hears public comment at the Thursday meeting. In the letter to Tussing, the seven council members said Brewster is the best choice to help the council get through tough budget negotiations next year.
"If we are looking for a new perspective on the council, that should come at election time," the letter said. "If we are appointing a council member, we need to look at the person that has the experience to hit the ground running."
The letter was written by Councilman Shoots Veis and signed by Ed Ulledalen, Dick Clark, Vince Ruegamer, Peggie Gaghen, Mark Astle and Jim Ronquillo. Gaghen had voted for Cimmino two weeks ago, but changed her mind.
Heights Councilman Denis Pitman said he wasn't aware of the letter until the meeting. Pitman said one possible solution to avoid an election is to appoint one of the other applicants besides Cimmino or Brewster to fill out the term.
In other business, the council tabled changes to the city's sexually oriented businesses law. The council passed the changes two weeks ago and the ordinance was scheduled for a routine second approval Monday night.
But city staff recommended that the council delay indefinitely the changes after hearing testimony two weeks ago from representatives of two adult bookstores that would be forced to move under the new ordinance. City officials will consider alternatives that will allow the bookstores to stay in place. The two bookstores are the Ball bookstore on South 26th Street and the Broadway bookstore on Midland Road.
City Attorney Brent Brooks said that, after a lawsuit in the 1990s, one of the bookstores said it had been promised by the city that it wouldn't have to move again. Brooks wanted to check into the claim.
"By keeping this new ordinance off the books … and extending the interim ordinance, we may very well keep you folks out of court," Brooks told the council.
The council will hold a public hearing on Dec. 8 to extend the interim ordinance.
The council delayed action until Dec. 8 on tax-break requests from two businesses. City Administrator Tina Volek said the agenda items weren't properly noticed.