Everyone seems to agree that the Chapel Hill Town Council will not replace Bill Thorpe; rather, they will fill his seat. After the October 15th meeting spilled over into October 16th, the Council approved their process to fill the vacancy. It appears to be a very sound process and the Council has made an excellent effort to get the word out to citizens who might be interested in serving on the Council until December 2009.
Clearly, being interested in serving is critically important, but that’s only part of the equation. To be blunt, the eight serving Council members will have to decide if they want to pick someone to be a seat-holder for 13 months, or whether or not they want to select someone and jump-start a future candidate’s campaign. To be blunt again, it’s important to remember that this is politics, but what needs to be paramount in my opinion is that we need someone who the Council feels that they can work with, and that someone needs to go into this with their eyes wide open.
They must be willing to devote an enormous amount of time and hard work to the critical issues that are on the horizon --- the 2009 budget, the Carolina North project, parking lot 5, and a host of other issues that will emerge from the current economic situation.
These are tough issues and the 9th member has to have the knowledge and skill to add to the discussions and the decision making process, and not just be a seat holder. To do less will be an insult to Bill Thorpe’s memory.