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Helper appoints council candidate

Sun Advocate editor

Last Thursday, Helper officials selected a local law enforcement officer to fill the vacancy on the city council created PJ Jensen’s recent resignation from the elected office.

The mayor cast the deciding vote after an oral canvass of the four remaining members of the Helper City Council - Kirk Mascaro, Brandon Wise, Larry Gaser and Dean Armstrong - resulted in a two-way tie.

Introducing the matter at the March 5 public meeting, Mayor Mike Dalpiaz indicated that city officials had received seven applications from Helper residents interested in occupying the vacated council seat.

The candidates applying for the vacancy included Helper Police Officer Chris Pugliese, Jesse McCourt, Pat Scherschel, Matt Marasco, Steve Zamantakis, Don Mortensen and Summer McBride.

Helper officials accepted the applications and sent letters inviting the interested parties to address the council at the city government next regularly scheduled public session, continued the mayor.

All of the applicants, with the exception of Zamantakis, responded to the invitation and attended last week’s meeting.

The term of the recently vacated council position will not expire for three years.

But pursuant to state statute, the council seat will be listed on November’s election ballot.

Therefore, the appointee will only serve on city government until January 2010, explained Dalpiaz prior to opening the meeting to comments from the applicants.

Following the comment period, the councilmembers unanimously passed motions recommending the advancement of two of the candidates - Pugliese and McCourt - to the second phase of the selection process.

Helper officials encouraged all of the applicants to consider running for the mayor’s office and open city council positions at the 2009 election polls before voting for a candidate to fill the vacancy on city government.

Proceeding with the final stage of the selection process, Mascaro and Gaser supported Pugliese’s nomination to the position on city government, while Armstrong and Wise favored McCourt’s appointment to the council seat.

Dalpiaz subsequently exercised a mayor’s statutory authority to diffuse similar stalemates and endorsed Pugliese’s nomination to the council.

After the mayor cast the deciding vote in connection with the matter, Pugliese was sworn in to serve on the Helper City Council until January 2010.

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