Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Easton City Council Selects Jim Edinger to Fill Vacant Seat

By Christina Georgiou

Jim Edinger, seen sitting in the back row of the Easton
City Council meeting Wednesday evening.

Easton city council selected Jim Edinger at it's regular meeting Wednesday evening to fill the West Ward council seat left vacant by the resignation of councilman Mike Fleck earlier this month.

Edinger, who has served on the city's zoning hearing board for the past 19 years, is also the Democratic candidate for the West Ward council representative in the coming November election.

He faces Republican candidate Kim Yedloskey in November, and the winner of the election will then represent the West Ward beginning in 2014.

Edinger was chosen over fellow applicant Stephen White, a former West Ward Neighborhood Partnership steering committee member.

Edinger's appointment is a reversal of council's traditional opposition to selecting an active candidate, but city council members said his long service to the city made him the best choice to fill the slot, though all said they believed both applicants were excellent.

"We had two quality candidates in front of us that gave us great feedback," said Councilman Jeff Warren, who nominated Edinger. "I do feel Edinger's long service to the city will be an asset."

"This will be a difficult decision for me because I've sat with both of them on different boards," said Councilwoman Sandra Vulcano, who moved to close the nominations after Warren put forth Edinger as his choice. "They're both very dedicated to the community, but Mr. Edinger has been here longer."

"Both of the candidates were very eloquent and showed dedication to the city," said Councilman Roger Ruggles. "The problem is, you have to choose one. I think that either of the candidates would have been a valuable addition to the council."

Panto praised Edinger's long experience.

"I think Jim brings a wealth of experience and knowledge," the mayor said.

After the vote, Edinger was brief in his comments.

"I just want to thank you for your support, and I'm looking forward to serving with you all," he said.

Edinger will be sworn in privately later this week, Panto said, so he can immediately begin to work with council members, but he will publicly take the oath of office at the next city council meeting on Wednesday, August 8 as well.

He will also be meeting with the city administration this week as well, to better familiarize himself with their operations, he said. Edinger will take over the city council's administration committee, which Fleck formerly headed.

Edinger said he doesn't have any specific agenda coming into his new position with the city, which runs until the end of the year.

Edinger's appointment means his immediate resignation from his position as chairman of the city's zoning hearing board.

Panto said the vacant seat on that board will not be a problem to fill, as Easton has several applicants to the board on a waiting list, and he expects one of them will be immediately appointed at the board's next meeting.

White was not present at Wednesday evening's city council meeting.

Mike Fleck officially resigned at the July 10 city council meeting due to a move to Allentown and to concentrate on his political consulting business. Fleck had originally announced he would serve until the end of the year, but found a house in the Lehigh County city earlier than expected, he told the council in June.

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