The filling of the vacated Ward 2 seat has gone from a mundane process to a tempest in a teapot with political overtones. I am concerned that the candidate appointed by the mayor, Angela Cimmino, works for an engineering firm and may have to recuse herself when issues dealing with engineering firms come up, which can be quite often. On the other hand, Larry Brewster, the second candidate, has vast experience and knowledge and can provide valuable input immediately, especially in the budget process.
This year's budget process will be one of the most important for Billings in many years. Dennis Pitman from Ward 2 was quoted in The Gazette recently as saying "Cimmino knows how to add and subtract … and she knows how the council works." I can assure you that our budget takes much more than simple arithmetic skills. As far as knowing how the council works it certainly isn't rocket science, but it takes time for a new member to become effective and contributing.
The council voted 5 to 4 against Cimmino and council member Ronquillo, who was out of town when we voted, has said he would support Brewster but not Cimmino. Both Council members Gaghen and McCall have said that if Brewster's name were to be put forth alone they would support him. That means eight council members support Brewster and four support Cimmino. Lastly, the mayor and Pitman have asked publicly why some of us did not support Cimmino. Most of us have publicly stated why. Now the question is why are the mayor and Pitman so adamantly against Brewster?
We all need to take a step back, take a breath, forget our egos and reach consensus thereby avoiding an expensive election.
Ward 3 councilman