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Shawnee City Commission: Vacant Ward 1 seat up for discussion again

By Vicky O. Misa | Vicky.misa@news-star.com | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star

When Shawnee City Commissioners meet Monday, they will revisit the issue of filling the vacant Ward 1 seat, and whether that ends up through appointment or special election.

After interviewing seven of nine applicants two weeks ago, the item was deferred.

Two of the seat-seekers did not complete the interview process — Chris Odneal wasn't at the meeting and Lindie VanAntwerp cited after further review the discovery that she was ineligible to serve on the board due to her employment with Shawnee Forward; she withdrew her name from consideration.

The seven remaining Ward 1 applicants are:

• Rex Hennen, a former City of Shawnee employee for 31 years, including roles as Shawnee assistant city engineer and Shawnee regional Airport manager;

• Randy Kamm, with SSM Health Medical Group, and head over the medical facility project at Domino Plaza;

• Tony Kenyon, a family man wrapping up a 20-year stint in the military;

• Mandi MacDonald, a North Rock Creek teacher and mother-to-be;

• Daniel Matthews, executive director of Community Market of Pottawatomie County;

• Robert Morris, a resident active in city government and employed for years at Tinker Air Force base; and

• Steve Palmer, CEO of Neighboring 101

Options

After the interview process was finished, Ward 2 Shawnee City Commissioner Bob Weaver made a motion to appoint Hennen to the position, which was seconded by Ward 6 Shawnee City Commissioner Ben Salter. The motion failed 3-2. Ward 3 Shawnee City Commissioner Travis Flood was not at the Aug. 3 meeting.

Ward 5 Shawnee City Commissioner Mark Sehorn then expressed a desire to have more time to consider the applicants' interview responses.

There also was some discussion among board members about what options were available — deferment on the issue, leaving an empty seat until a special election, appointment until a special election, or appointment until the term ends in 2022.

The decision, in a 3-2 vote, was to defer the item until the Aug. 17 meeting. Salter and Weaver opposed.

If the board should choose to call a special election, the cost to the city could be around $10,000. Shawnee City Attorney Joe Vorndran estimated such an election could not be achieved until January.

In other business, the board may consider an ordinance granting to One Gas, Inc. (acting by and through its Oklahoma Natural Gas Company Division) a non-exclusive franchise and right to install, operate and maintain a distribution system within and around the city for 25 years. A special election may be called to have residents vote on the item.

Also, Rachael Melot will present a report based on Blue Zones Project Certification Community Data.

In executive session, commissioners may take time to perform their annual evaluation of City Manager Chance Allison.

On the Airport Authority agenda, current lessee McLaughlin Enterprises, LLC, is requesting assignment of the lease at 702 W. Independence, which is owned by Shawnee Regional Airport, to Pringle Enterprises, LLC.

The only item set for the Municipal Authority is to approve the minutes from its last meeting.

The 6 p.m. meeting will take place Monday in the Bertha Ann Young City Commission Chambers at City Hall, at 16 W. 9th St.