Montague City Council has filled the vacant seat by appointing Steven Mayberry to the position.
In November, Montague City Council voted to keep Mark Freeland’s council seat open, in hopes of having the candidates run in the election in November 2013. The council also agreed that the term would only be less than a year, which wouldn’t be a long time to leave the seat vacant.
According to Mayor Kevin Erb, they council had a hard time choosing a candidate because he said each was highly qualified to serve on the council.
After the vote, Muskegon County Clerk Nancy Waters heard of it and contacted the county’s legal council, Ted Williams. He stated that because the city made an official motion to keep the seat open, they were violating the city’s charter. If the city council had not voted to keep it open, but just left the seat vacant, technically that would have been legal.
The city was contacted by the county explaining the situation, so the city decided they would fill the seat after John Schrier, Montague’s city attorney, agreed with the county’s legal council.
The city had received six applications for the seat in October 2012. The candidates were Travis Auger Sr., Laurence McMullen, Bruce Froelich, Steven Mayberry, Claude Babcock and Richard Stengenga.
At their meeting on Monday, Feb. 4, the council submitted their top three candidates for the seat. Each candidate who received a first place vote received three points, candidates who receive a second place vote received two points and candidates who received a third place vote received one point. Mayberry won the seat with 11 points.
Mayberry is the past president of Montague-Whitehall Rotary, current owner of Northland Insurance Services in Whitehall and operates a small catering/vending business in Montague. In his original application letter to the city council he stated that he likes the direction the city is moving and would like to contribute and give back to the community that has supported him for so long.
Mayberry will be part of his first council meeting as a member on Monday, Feb. 18.