About a dozen Bellevue residents publicly asked their city council Monday night to act and fill a vacant seat.
But the council defeated two proposals to do so, which means residents of Ward 1 still are without one representative.
Three council members — Don Preister, Carol Blood and Steve Knutson — earlier rejected the mayor's pick for the seat, Mike Hall.
Monday night, the three offered an alternative: Spend $7,000 to hold a special election to fill the seat.
“We want to move the city forward,” Preister said.
The cost would be equally split between the council's budget and the mayor's budget, he said.
Council members Kathy Saniuk and Paul Cook voted against the special election. Saniuk said she believes members can decide on a compromise before an August election date.
“We could get this filled before August,” she said. “Come on, folks.”
Because the proposal for a special election involved a cost, it needed four votes to pass. Mayor Rita Sanders could have cast the deciding vote, but she stuck to her support of Hall and said a special election was unnecessary.
“As your mayor, I say no to a special election, no to the costs,” she said.
Sanders renominated Hall. A majority vote was required for approval. Saniuk and Cook voted to approve Hall, and Knutson voted against him.
Blood and Preister abstained, saying they disagreed with the city attorney's interpretation of a law that allowed Sanders to reappoint Hall. That effectively killed the motion.
Meanwhile, a parade of residents spoke in favor of one proposal or the other. Some said they just wanted the council to make a decision.
“Whatever side you're on, this just needs to get resolved,” said John Jungers, who said he was a local businessman.
Their next step isn't clear. City Attorney Pat Sullivan said after the meeting that options include reconsidering Hall's nomination or approving the special election. Sanders also could appoint someone else to the seat, he said.
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