The Joseph City Council underwent a major changing of the guard when long-time mayor Dennis Sands suddenly resigned his 11-year position due to “health concerns.”
Mayor pro-tem Teresa Sajonia, who chatted alone with the city attorney, Wyatt Baum, before the session, filled the slot at the council’s 6 p.m. executive session the same day, Nov. 1.
The meeting barely had a quorum. Baum left the meeting before the open session began. Aside from Sajonia, only council members Patty Bufford, Mike Lockhart and Pearl Sturm attended initially.
Immediately after the meeting, Sajonia, Sturm and Bufford talked in an adjoining room. Sturm then left the community center to retrieve council member Tanya Collier.
In open session, Sajonia addressed the Sands resignation, which the council accepted with no discussion in a unanimous vote.
Collier nominated Sajonia to finish out Sands’ term “which will end in 2020, at the end of 2020,” Sajonia prompted.
Council member Mike Lockhart advised the council not to make a hasty decision.
“We have 90 days to do this,” Lockhart said. “I don’t know that it’s something you want to rush through so fast, to make a permanent appointment at this time.”
He added he didn’t have a problem with Sajonia per se, but wondered how the move would be received.
“We haven’t given everybody an opportunity to weigh in on that, and we haven’t gotten the attorney’s opinion on what the process is, either.”
He added that Baum had intended to write the council a letter on the matter for next week’s meeting. Lockhart also noted the full council wasn’t present. Marty Hamilton was absent.
Bufford, who works for Sajonia’s restaurant part-time, said that with Sajonia’s experience and how she has presented herself in the past to the council and community, it was time to move forward so that the council was not left in the dark.
In addition to Bufford, the city’s general clerk, Belinda Buswell and Crystal Branson, the sewer and water clerk, also work for Sajonia part-time.
Sajonia received four votes, including her own.
Lockhart had originally abstained. but after asking for an explanation, Sajonia did not accept his answer.
The vote was recorded as 4-0 in favor.