Mayor Merle Aaron said City Council decided to accept applicants before appointing a candidate due to some objections from residents. Aaron said several community members approached council members following the Jan. 28 meeting asking for the city to accept applications to fill the position.
However, Aaron said he believes it is important to fill the position as soon as possible, which is why he was in support of appointing a council member at the special meeting.
"Even tonight, we had two chairs empty. So if we have one more chair empty, well we can't do the city business," he said. "My concern was that we weren't getting that filled quick enough ... and that's still an issue with me."
Aaron said City Council will likely appoint a candidate in early March after the application period ends Feb. 18. All interested candidates who have previously applied for vacant council positions or council elections must reapply, according to city officials.
The Place 3 position was left vacant by Norman Funderburk, who resigned from council in mid-January to run for mayor in the May 1 election. Funderburk applied for the position shortly after Aaron said he would not seek re-election.
In addition to the mayoral position, Places 1 and 2 are also on the May ballot. The filing period for the May 1 election ends at 5 p.m. Feb. 12, according to the city website.
As of Feb . 9, incumbent Council Member Andy Curry and candidate Eric Lacy have applied for the Place 1 position, while incumbent Council Member Charles Cunningham and candidate Linda Greenan are in the running for Place 2, according to City Secretary Jenny Page.
Funderburk is currently the only applicant for the position of mayor. If a race is uncontested, it will not appear on the May ballot.