Mayor Jenn Daniels announced the impasse when the council resumed public session after the deliberations.
Daniels said a new process to appoint a replacement would have to be implemented and said they hoped to have something to consider by the council’s next regularly scheduled meeting April 21.
The opening came April 6 when Ray resigned to run for justice of the peace in the Highland Justice Court. Council accepted his resignation earlier in the April 7 meeting and passed a resolution thanking him for his service.
Also earlier in the meeting, Scott September was sworn in to fill the vacancy from Brigette Peterson’s resignation March 31. September was appointed at a special council meeting April 2. His resignation from Gilbert Planning Commission also was accepted April 7.
Ray was the third council member to resign in the past seven weeks.
The changes started when Eddie Cook resigned Feb. 18 to become Maricopa County assessor. Even then, council knew Peterson and Ray had filed Statements of Interest in other offices and likely would leave council on or before April 6.
The town opened up Cook’s position to applications, and Daniels pushed for the applicant pool also to be used for the potential Peterson and Ray vacancies so that it could make quick appointments and continue to effectively carry on town business.
Some council members, however, were concerned that new council members have a full voice in making the next appointments and said it was inappropriate that the departing council members should have any say in their replacements.
The applicant pool to replace Cook reached 105 persons, which council narrowed to eight for interviews March 17. Peterson and Ray were involved in the selection of the eight finalists and the subsequent interviews for Cook’s replacement.
Council then appointed Bill Spence, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, to replace Cook.
When Peterson resigned, council considered the same applicant pool and Spence said he was allowed to review not just the other finalists for his appointment, but all of the 105 applicants.
September was appointed at that end of the hastily called April 2 special meeting. Spence said then there was a general consensus among council members that September rose to the top.
Daniels did not say at the April 7 meeting whether the town would make a new call for applicants or change the way it was considering the current pool. She could not meet be reached for comment after the meeting, which was closed to public attendance and done virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Whoever gets the appointment will serve the remainder of Ray’s term, which expires at the end of 2022.