The votes are in and Clark County Councilor Eileen Quiring O’Brien will serve another year as chair, with fellow Councilor Karen Bowerman serving as vice-chair. Quiring O’Brien held on to her role as council chair with a 3-2 vote.
Charter amendment No. 3 passed by voters in November, which went into effect on Jan. 1, requires the council elect a chair and vice chair at its first meeting of the year each calendar year.
Councilor Temple Lentz nominated Councilor Julie Olson for the position but failed to get the votes of Medvigy, Bowerman and Quiring O’Brien. Councilor Karen Bowerman nominated Quiring O’Brien.
Electing Quiring O’Brien to continue as council chair didn’t sit well with Lentz or Olson.
As one of four Republicans on the council, Councilor Gary Medvigy also called for better collaboration and civility among the council members.
“I think it’s really important, especially in this new year, that we do all aspire to work as collegially as we can, with one singular purpose: to benefit the people of Clark County,” Medvigy said during the meeting.
He also said there is a “false narrative” in the community that the council is driven by partisanship, which was evidenced by voters approving a charter amendment to make the county’s elected positions non-partisan.
“It does rear it’s ugly head from time to time, creating a toxic atmosphere,” he said. “Some take to Facebook or even on the dais to personally attack and un-collegially, unprofessionally for partisan reasons… They are so divisive and unprecedented at the local level.”
He also noted Quiring O’Brien has “a depth of experience” in legislative work that will take the council into the new year.
“I hope all of the council, including those who are in the majority, will listen to I,” Lentz said. “Professionalism and decorum are something we are supposed to do, and we are supposed to treat all members of the council with respect. That can definitely start in the chair position. We’ve seen a number of times over the last few years where that hasn’t occurred.”
Lentz also said she couldn’t support keep Quiring O’Brien as chair because voters “made it clear in November they want something different.”
Article Source: The Columbian