Statesville is accepting applications from those who like to fill the City Council’s Ward 6 seat, following the resignation of Councilman Flake Huggins.
Huggins resigned Oct. 6 as part of a plea deal with the Iredell County district attorney. He had been charged with two felonies related to the 2011 elections.
“The rules are somewhat different than during the regular elections,” Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh said at the council’s Oct. 16 pre-agenda meeting. “Essentially, anyone interested in the position could move into that ward today, and then submit an application. They would be considered a legitimate candidate.”
Normally, applicants must live in the district for 30 days prior to applying.
To be considered for the Ward 6 seat, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen and 21 years of age. The application form requests information on the individual’s education, business and civic experience, areas of expertise and the reasons for wanting to serve. The person appointed will complete Huggins’ term, which ends in December 2015. The ward seat is up for election in October 2015.
The deadline for submitting applications is 5 p.m. Nov. 7. However, Kutteh indicated that if any council members submitted the name of an applicant after the cut-off date, they would also be considered.
“At 5 p.m. on November 7th we’ll open all the applications and verify the eligibility of each individual.” Kutteh said. “Then we’ll send a list of those eligible to the council and ask the applicants to attend our Thursday, Nov. 13 pre-agenda meeting for interviews.”
The interviews will be open to the public.
On Nov. 17, the council will vote for a replacement, using paper ballots. “Whoever is the first person to get four votes will be selected that night and officially installed on Dec. 1,” Kutteh said. “We’ll do multiple rounds of voting, if necessary, until we get to four votes.”
The city has taken out newspaper ads and used its reverse phone messaging system to inform residents about the selection process.
Huggins was in his fourth term as Ward 6 councilman. He was indicted in March 2012 by a grand jury on charges of aiding and abetting illegal voting and obstruction of justice, after investigators said the politician had relatives lie about their addresses so they could vote in the November 2011 Ward 6 runoff race, which he won. His trial had been postponed numerous times prior to the plea deal reached on Oct. 6.