Fred Metz was named to the Maryville city council during the governing body’s monthly meeting Tuesday night.
It took five ballots of voting before Metz received three votes from the four commissioners. Voting for Metz were Mayor Joe Swann, councilman Andy White and councilman Tommy Hunt. Councilman Tom Taylor chose Dede Christopher. The other candidate for the job left vacant with the death of councilman Ron Ivens was Maryville businesswoman Teresa Horn.
Metz said after the meeting that his priority would be getting up to speed with the current business of the city council. “This is bittersweet since this vacancy is because of Ron Iven’s death but I’m honored and thankful for the opportunity to serve,” he said.
The business of picking between Metz, Horn and Christopher was originally supposed to be at the beginning of the agenda but after two ballots turned up a deadlocked outcome, the matter was tabled until the end of the meeting.
Swann praised the three candidates for having been extremely involved in the community. “It’s difficult to make a decision on over the other,” he said.
The mayor said they worked hard not to talk about filling the position behind closed doors.
“We’ve been extremely cautious not to discuss this and to do this in public,” he said.
White said they started out with eight good people and whittled that number down to three good candidates. “I’d be happy to serve with any one of them,” he said.
Taylor said that what he has learned from serving on council is that very rarely are the choices they make between right and wrong. “You’re usually choosing between two groups of friends you like,” he said.
There were five rounds of balloting. In the first two, no member changed his vote. Andy White voted for Fred Metz, Tom Taylor and Joe Swann picked Dede Christopher and Tommy Hunt choose Teresa Horn.
During discussion, Hunt said he was concerned about Christopher being on council because she had gone against the legal advice of the city’s attorney during her time on the board of zoning appeals.
Swann said he was impressed with Christopher’s service. “I think she’s sensible, and I’ve not been displeased with any way she’s voted,” he said.
The mayor said appointing Christopher to the council also would be a good way to improve diversity and get a woman on the council.
White said he voted for Metz was because of his qualifications and education. “He has a masters in public administration, and he’s the only candidate who has sought election,” he said.
White also praised Metz for his 20 years on the Maryville Planning Commission. He recognized Horn as a good candidate but said Metz was the most qualified. Taylor said he would be interested in having someone on council who wasn’t a businessman. “I’m looking for a diversity of view points,” he said.
Swann said Christopher could also give good advice because she is a mother. “That’s another perspective that’s valuable,” he said.
When the council members couldn’t make a decision, they tabled the measure until the end of the meeting and conducted other business. When they returned to matter later, Swann took a few moments to explain his future plans for his service on the council. “I’m not going to seek another term as mayor. I’ve done this six years and it’s been very rewarding,” he said. “I don’t know another town I’d want to represent as mayor.”
Swann said often people across the state have always reacted in a positive way when he told them he was mayor of Maryville. “You can see the admiration in their eyes. We have such a respected community. It’s sure been a privilege to do this. I look forward to remaining on the council but not as mayor.”
In a third ballot, Taylor and Swann each supported Christopher while Hunt supported Horn and White supported Metz.
In the fourth ballot, White switched and supported Horn while Hunt switched and support Metz. Taylor and Swann each sustained their support for Christopher.
City attorney Melanie Davis told the council members a decision had to be made. “In the interest of the city, something’s got to give,” she said.
In the final ballot, Swann and White changed their votes; Hunt maintained his support for Metz Taylor maintained his support for Christopher.
Metz will be sworn in with Taylor and Swann who each won another term on the council Tuesday. Metz term will run through 2010.