CITY OF WATERFORD — It took an unusual vote from the city clerk, but city officials broke a deadlock and approved a nomination to fill a vacancy on council.
Waterford High School Board member Douglas Schwartz was nominated Monday night by a 3-2 margin to join the board overseeing the city’s government.
The appointment process had revealed strong divisions between the other four board supervisors.
Supervisors Dale Gauerke and Teri Nicolai supported Schwartz’s nomination, but City Speaker Tom Hincz and Supervisor Tim Szeklinski opposed it.
That left city clerk Tina Mayer — normally not a voting member of the board — to cast a deciding vote that cleared the way for Schwartz’s nomination and ended weeks of debate on the subject.
Schwartz was sworn in and immediately took his place, alongside Hincz and among his new colleagues in the city government.
The vacancy on the five-member board occurred in mid-December when supervisor Nick Draskovich resigned shortly after being asked about a possible conflict of interest. Draskovich, who was serving his fourth term, said his resignation was not related to a potential conflict of interest.
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The same night as the resignation, Dec. 13, Hincz named his pick to fill the vacancy, Katie Kawczynski. Other board members, however, chose to solicit nominations from others interested in the nomination.
The successful candidate would serve a two-year term that would run until 2023, with a salary of $7,750 per year.
Nine people came forward to seek the nomination, including professionals, businessmen, a former chief of police and a leader of a chamber of commerce.
Hincz then announced that he wanted to hold a special election, keeping the council seat vacant until an election could be held. When other council members continued the nomination process, Hincz refused to ask questions of the candidates appearing before the city council.
Gauerke and Nicolai called a special meeting Monday evening to complete the process and appoint Schwartz.
Hincz briefly objected that the council had not yet voted on its preference to hold a special election. But the nomination process continued, and Schwartz was seated after about 15 minutes of debate.
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