Local News

Cary Council Seat Still Vacant After 5 Months

Posted December 10, 2006

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— After nearly five months, the six-member Cary Town Council is deadlocked over who will fill an at-large seat on the town's governing board.

In late September, the council chose finalists Erv Portman and Dick Domann out of a pool of 37 applicants for the position, left vacant by former Councilman Mike Joyce, who resigned in July.

Portman said he just wants the Town Council to decide.

"It's been a bit frustrating to see this gridlock that's happened," Portman said. "They don't have to pick me; they don't have to pick him -- if they can't agree on either one of us, they could remove both of us and pick somebody else."

State law requires the position to be filled but does not cover a timeframe as to when. Council members have said they are actively working on a replacement but the issue is not on any upcoming council agendas.

Some legal experts say that only a lawsuit could force the issue to a resolution.

"I cannot imagine that it would take a lawsuit to solve this," Portland said. "And I would not do that."

Domann said he would not either.

"I have a life, I've had a life for a long time, and I have a job. I like my job. I'm looking forward to the appointment if it comes my way, but it if doesn't, I go on with my life."

Domann said he understands the council's delay.

"They just want to pick the right person, and make sure this person has longevity," he said. "So, if it takes them two weeks or all the way to next election, it's really they're call."

The seat is up for re-election in November 2007.

Some say that party politics is likely involved in the tied vote. Although local offices in North Carolina are legally nonpartisan, Domann is a Republican and Portman is a Democrat.
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