The Marietta City Council voted 4-3 to appoint former Mayor Bill Dunaway to the Marietta Development Authority Wednesday night.
Council members Grif Chalfant, Johnny Walker, Andy Morris and Reggie Copeland voted for the appointment, while Cheryl Richardson, Michelle Cooper Kelly and Joseph Goldstein opposed it.
The vote came after the city advertised a vacancy on the authority and received three applications. One applicant was informed they lived outside the city limits and was ineligible. Another dropped out, leaving Dunaway as the sole candidate.
Dunaway will represent Post 2 for a two-year term expiring in October 2023. He replaces Ed Hammock, who stepped down after more than 20 years of service. The development authority is tasked with developing and promoting trade, commerce, industry and employment opportunities in the city.
Reluctance over Dunaway’s appointment emerged at Monday’s work session. While acknowledging that Dunaway was “more than qualified” for the position, Richardson was disappointed that few people had applied for it. She also wondered if the city had advertised the vacancy well enough. The city placed ads in the MDJ and advertised the vacancy on the city’s website, staff indicated.
She added that “we had some people who came in after the fact,” that expressed interest in the position.
“I have a feeling that in a city of 60,000+, there’s probably more than three people interested,” Richardson said.
Asked if the council was under legal obligation to appoint Dunaway, City Attorney Doug Haynie told Richardson the council was not, and could legally reopen the application process.
But Walker and Chalfant were uncomfortable with changing course.
“I don’t think that’s fair to the person that went through all the right things,” Chalfant said Monday.
Richardson said she wanted to consider changing the city’s notice and advertising procedure to better reach the public — that may come up in a future committee meeting.
“Going forward, we might want to change the way we do things, but I think it’s totally out of line changing it after, you know, we’ve gone through the procedure properly,” Walker said.
On Monday, the council voted 3-3-1 on the question of advancing Dunaway’s appointment to the Wednesday meeting. Walker, Chalfant and Morris voted in favor, with Copeland, Kelly and Goldstein opposed. Richardson abstained. Mayor Steve Tumlin broke the tie by voting in favor, so the appointment was advanced to Wednesday’s meeting.
By Wednesday, Copeland had become a “yes” on Dunaway, leading to the 4-3 vote in favor.