BUCKHANNON — Shelia Lewis-Sines was selected to fill a City Council vacancy at the regular Buckhannon City Council meeting last evening. The vacancy was created by the recent resignation of council member Mary Albaugh who served as a council member from 2014 to the time of her resignation and was also the City Recorder from February to June of 2010 (appointed to fill vacancy due to a retirement).
Mrs. Lewis-Sines was a candidate in the 2020 election initially tying with Council Member C.J Rylands with 423 votes each. After the results of the election were canvassed, the final tally was Mr. Rylands with 437 votes and Mrs. Lewis-Sines with 431 votes, giving the third and final seat of the election to the incumbent, CJ Rylands.
Section 9 of the Buckhannon City Charter states: Whenever a vacancy from any cause shall occur in the office of mayor, the recorder shall become the mayor of said city, and shall serve as such until the next city election or until his successor is elected and qualified, and in the case of a vacancy in the office of recorder or councilmen the remaining council shall, by a majority vote, fill such vacancy.
At last evening’s council meeting, two options of how to fill the vacant council seat were discussed with one being having the Council ask for and accept letters of interest from the public and allowing the current council members interview those interested ultimately selecting a person from that group, with the other option being appoint Shelia Lewis-Sines to the seat recognizing that she had received that next highest number of votes in the 2020 citywide election while not securing an open seat. Concern that either option could set a precedent was negated with a reference to section 9 of the City Charter.
Discussion ended with a motion from council member David Thomas, and a second from council member Jack Reger, to appoint Shelia Lewis-Sines to the open seat. The motion carried with 4 council members and the mayor voting yay and 1 council member abstaining.
Mrs. Shelia Lewis-Sines will be sworn in at the next regular meeting of the Buckhannon City Council scheduled for September 2, 2021.