Shortly after singing the praises of, and profusely thanking, City Commissioner Peggy Getty and voting to accept her letter of resignation received at City Hall on February 17th, the St. Joseph City Commission voted 3 to 1 to select Michele Binkley to fill the vacancy created by Getty’s resignation.
Binkley, a retired special education teacher who now cares for a special-needs grandchild, emerged from the original list of 14 and made it to the group of 5 finalists that were interviewed by the remaining city commissioners last week and was named by both Lynn Todman and Mayor Mike Garey as being a top choice, before Garey made a motion to name her as Getty’s replacement, supported by Todman and was voted in on a 3-to-1 tally with only Commissioner Laura Goos voting against her selection.
Goos had named Brook Thomas and Anthony Pastrick as her two finalists. Jeff Richards named Mike Sarola and Jason Vetne as his two finalists. Lynn Todman named both Binkley and Brook Thomas as her two finalists, before Garey named Binkley and Jason Vetne was his two finalists.
Each of the City Commissioners listed key attributes that they felt the winning candidate should have in order to take the role, and reminded all other potential seat holders that there will be a formal election in November with a deadline of April 20th to file for that opportunity. If there are more than six that wish to run, there would need to be a primary election in August to whittle things down for the November ballot.
Commissioner Jeff Richards said he was impressed that Binkley had indicated that she had “shadowed” the work of the city commission for years and had a good grasp of what the city government is all about.
Todman was impressed with Binkley’s commitment to a wide-range of voices “especially those on the fringe,” and her calm demeanor.
Binkley will be sworn in and take her seat at the next City Commission meeting.