Hobbs wins council seat via coin toss

Sean C. Morgan

Incumbent Bruce Hobbs won a coin toss on Dec. 16 in a tiebreaker for the fourth City Council seat in the Nov. 4 election.

Following a recount on Dec. 11, Hobbs and James Goble were tied at 925 votes for fourth place behind incumbent Greg Mahler, Ryan Underwood and Jeff Goodwin, who will all serve four-year terms.

At a special City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday to canvas the election results and break the tie, the council chose to flip a Samaritan Health Services challenge coin.

Outgoing Councilor Craig Fentiman flipped the coin, with the best of seven winning the seat. He ended up flipping the coin six times after Hobbs won four flips.

Mayor Jim Gourley suggested that Fentiman flip the coin since he is leaving the City Council Dec. 31 and has no stake in the result. The coin had a piece of paper with Hobbs’ and Goble’s initials on opposite sides.

Hobbs won the first flip. Goble won the second and third. Hobbs won the next three.

He will serve a two-year term.

To see a video of the coin flip procedure, visit sweethomenews.com.

“I’m excited it came down to a coin flip,” Hobbs said. He said both he and Goble would have been good choices to get the job done, and the tie showed that each vote does count. It also prompted people to ask questions about city government.

Now that he has retained his council seat, Hobbs said he will need to focus on sewer and infrastructure issues, with the likely upgrades needed at the Wastewater Treatment Plant as well as a couple of possible planning issues.

Goble said he respects the process.

“That’s the way democracy works,” he said. “Come January, the community will get to see the popular vote and their votes in action.”

This was important to Goble, he said, and he hopes that the council stays on task and members are all present at meeting time.

At this point, Goble is not sure if he’ll run again in two years, he said.

“It just depends on what the city, the community wants. If they feel the need for me to run, then I’ll throw my name in the hat.”

This is possibly the first time the City Council has had a tie.

Gourley said no one he has talked to can recall a tie, and he doesn’t remember a tie in the past 40 years.