David Bass, who for a decade took direction from the Lake Forest City Council as a staff member of the city, will now put the shoe on the other foot.
At the end of a meeting that lasted more than six hours Tuesday, Bass received three of four available votes to become the fifth member of the city council.
Bass will fill the empty seat left by Peter Herzog's resignation on Oct. 15. He served previously with the City as its director of finance/treasurer from September 1993 to November 2003. As a consultant, he was called in to help bring the City of Bell back into line after its scandal.
Bass was chosen on the 10th vote of the night, after two different processes of selection had been exhausted—and had exhausted those in the audience.
Seemingly at an impasse because of Mayor Pro Tem Kathryn McCullough's abstentions because she was "not comfortable with the process," Dwight Robinson finally heaved a Hail Mary, asking if he could make a motion for his colleagues to vote on his first choice, planning commissioner Andrew Hamilton.
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Adam Nick said he would need to think about it and he would like to come back on Wednesday, and with McCullough not endorsing anyone, it effectively killed Hamilton's chances.
But Mayor Scott Voigts took the lead from Robinson and made a motion on Bass, who was Voigts' first choice for the position. Nick, whose first choice had clearly been Jim Gardner, thought about it for about a half-minute, appearing to be in distress over the situation before him. Finally, he said yes. Robinson and Voigts also agreed, a compromise had been made, and Bass was The Man.
He was chosen from among 12 candidates, all of whom gave a good account of themselves despite their varying degrees of experience and involvement with the city.
By choosing Bass before midnight on Saturday, the council avoided having to go through a special election in April that could have cost the City about $180,000. Bass' term will conclude at the end of 2014, so he—or anyone who might have won a special election in April—would still have to run a campaign for the November 2014 election to remain in office.
McCullough and Nick both indicated they were comfortable with allowing the vote to go before voters in April, with Nick determining the cost to be about $2.50 per resident for the will of the people to be ensured. However, he clearly wanted to reach a decision before creating a special election.
"We are blessed but freedom sometimes costs money," said the Iranian-born Nick. "Where I'm from, freedom costs blood."