Only one applicant for city seat so far


Dale applies for soon-to-be vacated city commission post.

Dale applies for soon-to-be vacated city commission post.


With a few days remaining until Friday's deadline, one person has submitted a letter to the Garden City clerk expressing interest in filling the remainder of City Commissioner John Doll's term.

Retired fire investigator Melvin Dale, 71, said he decided to apply for the position due to an interest in public service and politics.

"I've always been interested in giving back. I've enjoyed Garden City for a number of years, starting back in the '80s when I sat on a committee to establish the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program," Dale said. "I owe a lot to Garden City. They employed me for a number of years. Also, I just feel I can contribute to help the city grow."

Dale worked for the Garden City Police Department in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and was a fire investigator for the state of Kansas for 21 years, covering southwest Kansas.

While he has never run for office before, Dale said he looks forward to new experiences and would like to be more involved in the community.

"I don't have an axe to grind, that's for sure, and I don't have a pet peeve. I just feel I have the capability of listening to people and trying to reason with them to resolve problems they might have with the city. I'd just like to give back," he said.

People interested in being appointed to the unexpired seat have until 5 p.m. Friday to submit a written letter of interest to the city clerk. Applicants are asked to give some background about themselves and a statement about why they are interested in the position. Letters may be mailed or hand delivered to the city clerk's office at the city administrative center, 301 N. Eighth St.

Doll, who was elected in November to represent Kansas House District 123, announced his resignation from the city commission in November, effective at the end of the Jan. 2 commission meeting. He will continue to serve as commissioner until then.

The rest of the commission is expected to talk about any applicants and could vote to fill the seat on Jan. 2.

Since 1984, Garden City has followed its own process to fill unexpired commission terms because the state did not have a uniform procedure for all communities.

According to city ordinance, the remaining four commissioners decide by majority vote to elect an eligible person to serve until the next general election. If there is a tie, the city attorney is authorized to cast the deciding vote.

But the ordinance doesn't spell out how the city finds the eligible person.

"Each governing body decides the process they want to use, as far as taking applications or interviewing people or having them come to a meeting and talk," Randall Grisell, city attorney, said. "Somebody will finally make a motion to appoint somebody, it's seconded and then someone has to receive a majority vote of the board that's still left."

Doll's term was set to expire in April. Whoever is appointed to fill Doll's term would still need to file in late January to be included on the April 2 municipal election ballot.

Two other commission seats will be up for election in April, that of Mayor David Crase, who has decided not to run again, and that of Commissioner Chris Law, who has not decided whether he will run.

People interested in running for city commission in April have until noon Jan. 22 to fill out forms and pay a $10 filing fee with the city clerk's office to appear on the ballot.

The next city commission election is April 2, 2013. The commission consists of five members, all of whom are elected at large. Three commission seats are up for election in odd numbered years. The candidates with the two highest vote totals are elected to four-year terms, while the third highest vote getter is elected to a two-year term.

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