Fentiman re-elected to mayor’s seat after vote splits council

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home City Council re-elected Craig Fentiman to serve as mayor after a brief deadlock on Jan. 11, the council’s first regular meeting of 2011.

Scott McKee Jr. nominated Fentiman for mayor. Ron Rodgers nominated Jim Gourley.

Greg Mahler, Gourley and Rodgers voted for Gourley, while Fentiman, McKee and Angulo voted for Fentiman, a tie vote.

Laurie Osborne was absent during the first part of the meeting. She arrived later, after a class she was taking, to help break the tie.

McKee nominated Fentiman a second time. Gourley did not receive a second nomination, and the council voted 7-0 to re-elect Fentiman.

The council re-elected Gourley as president pro tem, who fills in for the mayor should the mayor be absent.

Before the second vote, Rodgers told the council he would like to hear from the two candidates why they would like to be mayor.

Gourley told the council that he has good leadership potential and qualities, he said. “And I think I can bring the council to a better understanding of things going in the city right now.”

Gourley, who has been on the council since 1993, served as mayor in 1997-98.

He said he thought that councilors may not feel like they were hearing as much about what’s going on as they should, he said.

He has worked with Fentiman for 18 years, and he has no problem with Fentiman, he said.

“But I do feel like, at this point, I could bring some things to the table that would be beneficial.”

Fentiman said he wasn’t aware of any councilors having problems getting information.

“If councilors don’t feel they’re getting information,” Fentiman said, he hasn’t heard about it. No one has come to him and told him that he’s doing a lousy job and to get out, he said. He told the councilors not to hesitate to rattle his cage if they have anything on their minds.

“I’ve shown you the leadership experience and over time,” Fentiman told the council. He said he has developed a rapport with the county commissioners, the Sweet Home Revitalization Effort Steering Committee and more.

Fentiman has been on the council since 1988. He was mayor in 1993-94, 2001-02 and 2005 to present.

In other business, the council:

Presented a certificate to Finance Director Pat Gray on behalf of the Government Finance Officers Association, which honored her with its Distinguished Budget Award, the highest such award for government accounting.

Declared a variety of equipment surplus to be auctioned by the state Department of Administrative Services. The property includes fax machines, copiers, typewriters, cabinets, desks, registers and computer equipment.

Reappointed Lee Vaughn to the Tree Commission and Steve Hanscam to the Traffic Safety Committee.

Approved the renewal of an agreement with the Senior Center for the operation of its transportation program.

Approved an interagency agreement to apply to the U.S. Department of Justice for grant funds. The grant would provide two law enforcement officers and one mental health professional to the Linn County Behavioral Health Justice Task Force to train Linn County law enforcement officers. The goal is for approximately 20 percent of Linn County law enforcement officers to be specifically trained to deal with persons suffering with mental illness who are at risk of committing non-violent crimes.