A planning commissioner is the second appointee in a three-week span to join Gilbert Town Council.
Council in a special meeting last Thursday voted 5-0 for Scott September to finish the remaining two years on Brigette Peterson’s term. Peterson resigned last Tuesday to run for mayor.
“I think we have some hard days ahead of us as a community,” Mayor Jenn Daniels said. “I’m grateful another individual is ready to pitch in.”
Daniels said the town will have some really big financial decisions to make, especially due to the coronavirus. The Council’s financial retreat is April 16.
Finances are quickly becoming a major issue for some of Gilbert’s neighbors. Mesa already is plotting layoffs of scores of non-essential employees, such as librarians and park attendants, in the face of plummeting sales tax revenue and soaring demands.
Millions of dollars made available through various federal aid packages approved recently by Congress in the wake of the virus pandemic may forestall those layoffs for a while, Mesa officials said, but they nonetheless seem inevitable given escalating unemployment and business closures.
September is scheduled to take the oath of office at Tuesday’s Council meeting.
The Council’s first appointment came on March 17 with the selection of Bill Spence to replace Eddie Cook, who was appointed Maricopa County assessor in February. Spence’s appointment is for nine months with the remaining two years to be filled by election.
Council is anticipated to make a third appointment this week with Councilman Jordan Ray planning to tender his resignation Monday.
“I have an appointment for Monday at 1:30 with the county to submit my petition,” said Ray last week regarding his nomination paperwork for the justice of the peace race.
Ray said he will submit his resignation the same time he turns in his nomination petition.
September and Spence are two of eight finalists culled from a field of 103 individuals who applied for Cook’s vacant seat.
The six remaining finalists who could have a shot at the third appointment are Planning Commissioner Jan Simon, Planning Commissioner Noah Mundt, Amanda Shaffie, Kathleen Joy Dowler and Yung Koprowski, who serves on the town’s ad hoc Citizens Transportation Task Force.
September, who is a national zoning manager with Crown Castle Real Estate, has lived in Gilbert with his family for 15 years.
In his application, he said he will bring his “professional experience and management style of collaboration, accountability, team building, problem-solving, conflict resolution and leadership to the council role.”
During his public interview in March, September said he is a fiscal conservative and that with the pandemic, his top priority would include continuing to provide town services at the lowest costs possible and deferring anything that was nonessential.
He added he would leverage relationships with neighboring municipalities and work collaboratively with them for best practices during the crisis.
The Council spent nearly an hour and a half in executive session before coming back to the dais to announce and vote on their selection.
Ray said the town has many qualified, outstanding residents, some who applied and some who didn’t, and was appreciative of those who put their names in for the seat.
“Scott, I look forward to working with you for a few days,” Ray said.
Councilman Jared Taylor noted September’s expertise for the challenges that lies ahead for the town.
And, Vice Mayor Scott Anderson said September rose to the top during the selection process.
“I think Scott will be a great addition,” he said. “I know Scott will do a great job.”
The seven-member Council is not only seeing new faces with the appointments but four seats, including Cook’s and Daniel’s, are up for election this year.
Daniels and Taylor are not seeking re-election while Anderson is running for a second term.
Councilwoman Aimee Yentes did not participate in the vote last Thursday because she delivered her baby that morning.