A former alderman and another former candidate each expressed interest in the upcoming appointment to the vacant Ward 3 seat on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in Spring Hill.
Susan Zemek, who previously served on the board but was defeated by Dan Allen, said she would be willing to rejoin the board. Zemek served for six years from 2013-2019 after being appointed and winning the seat in the 2015 election.
“I feel like with my qualifications, I feel like I could slide back into that seat and it would be a seamless transition,” she said. “That’s what we need, mostly, are the people that really know what the city can and can’t do.”
Brent Murray, who currently serves on the city’s planning commission, ran for the seat currently occupied by Vice-mayor Kevin Gavigan, but was ultimately defeated as well. Since that time, however, Murray said he has been very much involved in the city and would be honored to join the current board.
“I have remained engaged in the city and currently serve on the planning commission here, as well as the historic commission,” he said. “I love our city; I know that we have challenges that we face, but I would consider it an honor to come alongside this board and do my best to not just make good decisions for our city, but to make great decisions for our city and the future of our city.”
Allen was hired as of Oct. 1 to serve as assistant city manager as an engineer. His seat was vacated when he resigned to become part of the staff, meaning the current board would need to fill the open seat.
“Alderman Allen served us faithfully for a long time, and he resigned his aldermanship as an elected official to become a staff member,” Spring Hill mayor Jim Hagaman said. “When an elected official vacates their position for whatever reason, the collective board nominates another person to fill that vacancy for the rest of that term.”
Allen held the same title with city from 2013-2016. But, this time, it comes with additional funds, residents and growth-related opportunities and challenges for Spring Hill. And he will be focused on utilities.
“Dan’s assignment will be to maximize the American Rescue Plan and other funds to expand water, sewer and related initiatives key to Spring Hill’s smart growth agenda,” said City Administrator Pam Caskie. “He has the engineering and subject matter experience to help lead on these important issues.”
That appointed person would fill the seat for the remainder of the term, in this case until April 2023 when the next city election is held.
Hagaman suggested the board be ready to vote on the appointment in two weeks at the next meeting, but Alderman Matt Fitterer asked for adequate time to vet the candidates without a tight time constraint. Alderman Hazel Nieves then recommended the board set a date for a vote in order to solidify a timeline.
The board agreed to vote in two weeks, but could potentially table the vote in the event more time is needed to select the most qualified candidate.