All of the candidates for Chapel Hill Town Council should apply to fill former councilman Bill Strom’s seat.
This suggestion, made by council candidate Will Raymond, is the best way to make filling Strom’s former seat as democratic as possible.
Strom announced his resignation on July 29. This was just after the deadline for election filings — meaning that his seat had to be filled by appointment rather than election.
But if all of the candidates follow Raymond’s suggestion and apply to be appointed for Strom’s seat, then the council will be able to easily appoint the fifth-place finisher in the upcoming election to the seat.
There are eight candidates vying for four Town Council seats.
But because Strom’s seat must be filled by appointment, it’s not one of the four seats that is up for grabs in the election. Thus it’s completely removed from the democratic process.
But if all of the candidates are registered for appointment to Strom’s former seat, then there will be a strong incentive for the council to appoint the fifth-place finisher.
This Editorial Board has previously expressed our disappointment that this seat will not be up for grabs in the election — especially since there is already one council member placed there by appointment.
Now is the opportunity to make the appointment process de facto democratic.
The deadline for submitting applications to the Town Clerk’s Office is 5 p.m. Oct. 12. That gives the candidates just less than a month to register for Strom’s former seat.
While the candidates may not agree on all of the issues, they should all be able to get behind a solution that makes the Town Council more democratically representative.
It’s time for a firm commitment from the candidates to put their names in for Strom’s seat, and a firm commitment from the council to appoint the fifth-place finisher.
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