Published On: Wed, Aug 27th, 2014

Peck is back in the mayor’s seat

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Durbin Town Council member Mike Vance, right, administers the oath of office to newly appointed mayor Donald Peck at the August 20 special meeting. Peck resigned from the position at the July 8 meeting, leading to a search for a new mayor. S. Stewart photo

Durbin Town Council member Mike Vance, right, administers the oath of office to newly appointed mayor Donald Peck at the August 20 special meeting. Peck resigned from the position at the July 8 meeting, leading to a search for a new mayor. S. Stewart photo

After operating for a month without a mayor, Durbin Town Council held a special meeting August 20 and appointed Donald Peck to return to the seat. Peck resigned at the July 8 council meeting, citing issues with the way council “ruled” the town through ordinances.

Prior to council’s vote, Peck explained why he resigned and then put his name back into the mix for the seat of mayor.

“Simply because you get mad,” he said of why he resigned. “There was an ordinance. We all sat in here hours and hours and approved it. Then they go out and go against it. Why sit here for hours and hours to try to get these ordinances set up where you govern the town, and turn against it?”

Councilmember Mike Vance, serving as chairperson of the meeting, cut Peck off while he was speaking and said some of what Peck was saying was not true.

“I’m going to cut you off there, because a lot of what you say is true but a lot of it the municipal league said is different,” Vance said. “Shirley [Tracy] heard what the woman said. The woman exactly said that this is a village, this is not a big city. She said ‘you live in a small corporation where you all don’t have very many people.’ She said, ‘you’ve got to work with people there and do whatever to keep the people in the community.’”

Vance added that the woman at the municipal league said the ordinance, which concerns the number of dwellings allowed on lots, needs to be rewritten.

Council received two letters of intent for the position of mayor – Donald Peck and Mike Vance. Vance did not vote, leaving four councilmembers to cast votes for mayor.

Council chose the secret ballot method. The first vote yielded two votes for Peck and two blank or abstention votes. Council was in disagreement over how to count the blank votes.

“There’s two votes for Donald and zero for Michael Vance,” councilmember Jeremy Bauserman said.

“That’s the way you want to consider it?” Vance asked. “An abstention is the same as voting against him.”

Unable to come to an agreement, Vance called council lawyer Martin Saffer for guidance.

“My understanding of public service is you must vote on every issue and you can’t abstain unless you have some sort of conflict of interest or some sort of legal reason that you don’t vote,” Saffer said on speaker phone. “Otherwise, it is mandatory that a council member or a commission member or any member of a board votes.”

Council voted again with a result of three votes for Peck and one vote for neither. Vance swore-in Peck as mayor.

Council received two letters of intent for the position of town recorder – Danielle Findley and Jeremy Bauserman. Findley vacated the seat when she thought she was moving out of the town limits. Due to a change in plans, Findley is now eligible to be recorder once again.

Council voted and Findley received three votes, returning her to the recorder’s seat.

Durbin Council meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Durbin town hall.

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