By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
At a special Oct. 7 meeting, Oxford Village Council voted 4-0 to appoint Kelsey Cooke to fill the remainder of former village president Joe Frost’s term after he resigned last month. The thing is, Cooke is already on the council, since she was appointed to fill another vacancy in February.
The council has 30 days to make a new appointment after a resignation. Frost resigned Sept. 8, so council had to appoint a new councilmember at the special meeting.
Village administration announced the meeting on its website with a link to an application for council and other committees, but Cooke was the only one to apply.
Village Manager Joe Madore explained how the process would work. If Cooke were to take the appointment, she would have to resign from her other position on village council, which expires at the end of this term in November. Her resignation would be within 30 days of the Nov. 3 election, so there would be no need to fill her vacancy, since the election will fill her new seat.
(Another councilmember, Allison Kemp, who was also an appointee, is running unopposed for that two-year position. Cooke is not running in the election.)
“Once you make an appointment, same as an election, the person has 10 days to be sworn in to that office,” Madore said. “If they do not get sworn in within those ten days, they are deemed to have basically turned it down.”
Madore added that a councilperson cannot resign at a special meeting; they must resign at “the next regularly scheduled meeting,” which was Oct. 13.
“There would be three or four days after next week’s regular meeting in which she would decide whether to be sworn in, or not. If this goes through and she was to resign at the next council meeting on the 13th, that is less than 30 days before the election, so I don’t believe there would be any need to pick up her vacancy because that vacancy would be automatically filled by the election.”
The council, including Cooke, voted unanimously for the appointment. The term expires November 2022.
Cooke thanked the council for the appointment. “There are big decisions coming up for council. I’m very excited to be able to be a part of them and to try to be thoughtful, and do my research and contribute to everything that other councilmembers bring to the table as well, so I think we work really well together. I’m also looking forward to the election and I think that no matter the outcome we’re going to make the right decisions for the village, and I’m just happy to be a part of that too. So really, truly thank you very much.”
“Kelsey, thanks for coming back and doing another two years. It’s good to have you,” Councilmember Maureen Helmuth said.
“Thanks Kelsey, for sticking around and dealing with our crazy. You certainly bring a lot to our team,” Kemp said.
The appointment is only for Frost’s regular council seat, not the presidency. Per the village charter, the council should elect one of its members to serve as President and one to serve as President Pro Tem, at its first regular meeting after the new members are seated in November.
Four candidates are running for two, four-year village council seats in the Nov. 3 election: Village President Pro Tem David Bailey is seeking re-election, while Lori Bourgeau, Ashley Ross and Justin Willcock are seeking first terms.