When the votes were counted in the May 8th primary, we learned that our Town Council member Penny Rich had won one of the two primary spots on the democratic ballot. Barring a successful write-in vote, Rich should be elected on November 6th and take her new office in December. After the vacancy is declared, the Council will accept applications, possibly interview candidates, and make a selection.
Of course, there is already a variety of opinions as to who should be selected by the Council to serve out the remainder of Ms. Rich’s term that expires in December 2013. That’s to be expected, but I really am troubled when I hear someone say that the Council should appoint a woman to replace Ms. Rich. The argument is that over 53% of the Town is women and only having two women instead of three on the Council is something that should concern us.
My opinion is that we should exam the applicants and select the woman or man who is best qualified to serve on the Council. That should be the only criteria, who can best serve us, but we know historically that a person appointed to the Council usually has an advantage if they decide to run for a full term in the next election, so the appointment can have advantages. And a guy having a leg up in 2013 might be what the proponents of appointing a woman are concerned about.
I think the Council ought to make their criteria for considering all of the applicants clearly known. Otherwise, they ought just to proclaim, “Men Need Not Apply!