|City recorder Joanne Lessar swears Mae Aguayo in to fill the vacancy on the Price council created by Joe Christman's resignation from the elected office. Price officials selected Aguayo to occupy the city council position during a specially scheduled meeting last Wednesday.|
The Price City Council had a major decision to make on the agenda at a special meeting last Wednesday. The officials had to decide who would fill former Councilman Joe Christman's place on city government after he resigned to accept a new job.
In a meeting that took slightly less than an hour, the council selected Mae Aguayo to fill the vacancy in a 3-2 vote.
After Christman resigned, the council collected names of interested parties to fill out the one year of service left on the seat before the next election.
Early last week, six people were interested in the position. After some evaluation, the officials whittled the list down to two candidates to consider at Wednesday's meeting - Aguayo and Robert Jay Marshall.
Both candidates were invited to the meeting to address the council and answer several questions.
For Aguayo, it was her first foray into political life, while Marshall has run for a seat on the city council before.
Each candidate was allowed five minutes to give an overview of their experience and views on city issues, then the council asked some set questions of the two.
Aguayo comes to the council with a great deal of experience working with governmental entities, including four years for Price city in the library.
She is currently employed by the Southeastern Utah Health District where she has been for the last 11 years. She also served on the Price Library board for six years.
"I think one of my strengths is that I know many key people in the community and in the county," Aguayo said during her opening presentation. "I think there are a lot of things we can do as a team."
Aguayo also pointed out her community service over the years as a plus.
"I have this community in my heart," Aguayo told the council.
Marshall, who said he currently works "as the only employee west of the Mississippi River" for Utah American Energy, the company planning to open the Lila Canyon coal mine, presented himself as a professional with good credentials to help run city government.
"I think I have some unique qualifications to be a member of the council," commented Marshall. "Right now, there is no energy representative on the council and with the importance of that industry in our area I think that would be valuable."
Marshall also pointed to his business experience, particularly in the areas of budgeting and business operations.
The council's questions to the applicants were direct.
First, the officials asked what each person considered important to the future of Price.
Aguayo said that she thought the youth of the community were the most important and there needed to be more for children and families to do in town.
Marshall said he thought economic development was very important, particularly since the energy industry is declining in the area and that the jobs lost there will need to be replaced with something else as the change takes place.
The council also asked what each candidate would like to accomplish during their term. Both said they would like to see more recreational opportunities created in the community for kids.
The council was also wondering if the two had any ideas for bringing more life to the downtown area. Aguayo said she thought what the city was doing in terms of art placement, benches and development was very good. Marshall said he thought developing a niche for the area would help revitalize the downtown area.
The council asked some question about how the two would resolve problems, and how they would work with issues before the council.
After the questioning was done, Mayor Joe Piccolo expressed his satisfaction with all the people who had applied to be a member of the council.
"All six were well qualified and this decision has become even harder now that we are down to two people," he said.
When the mayor asked for the vote on Aguayo, Councilwomen Jeanne McEvoy and Betty Wheeler raised their hands, along with Councilman Steve Denison.
Aguayo was sworn in immediately after the vote and will now serve until the next election. Should she decide to run again, it would be for a two-year term.