T.F. Council Candidate Interviews to Remain Closed

From the Twin Falls Times-News

TWIN FALLS • The public and press won’t be allowed to sit in as candidates interview for the open Twin Falls City Council seat.

The public normally elects city council members to serve two-year terms. But when a mid-term vacancy opens, a city’s mayor can appoint someone to the seat. That person will serve until the next general election.

In April, Councilman Lance Clow stepped down, and 13 people applied to fill the spot. The council’s selection committee — Mayor Greg Lanting and Councilmen Don Hall and Chris Talkington — heard speeches from candidates on Tuesday and chose four finalists to interview for the position.

Because the council won’t have a quorum, the Friday interviews don’t fall under public meeting law, but aren’t necessarily closed. It’s up to the Lanting to decide whether to allow the public and press to sit in, said Twin Falls City Attorney Fritz Wonderlich.

Lanting said he will keep the interviews private, even if the candidates are OK with opening up the process.

“I really feel that we can choose the best candidate when they’re alone, just asking the question, and there’s no reporter there,”Lanting said. The press and public might hamper candid responses from the candidates, he said.

“I apologize, but I have the right to close this so I’m going to keep it closed,”he said.

The four candidates are Christopher Reid, Suzanne Hawkins, Allen Starley and Gary Garnand. After the interviews, the mayor will appoint one of the four to the council. The other council members will vote on whether they approve the appointment at Monday’s meeting.

If approved, the new council member will start immediately and sit in on that night’s meeting.

From the Twin Falls Times-News

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