for the Mail Tribune
TALENT — City Councilwoman Wendy Siporen submitted a letter of resignation effective July 31 at Wednesday's council meeting, citing work demands. Her term expires Dec. 31.
"I have increased work responsibilities," Siporen said Thursday. "I was trying to downsize how much I was doing. I'm sorry to let it go. I love serving on the council and I may do so again, but right now it's time to take a break."
Turning the council's attention to affordable housing was one of her top accomplishments, said Siporen. The city is now a member of the Oregon Housing Alliance.
"It was really the Talent council making that a priority that prompted City Manager Betty Wheeler to take it to Rogue Valley Council of Governments," said Siporen. "It was really a benefit in that RVCOG held the work force housing summit."
Increased funding for the police department will be a challenge for future council members, she said. Property tax limitations are hurting public safety efforts in all Oregon towns, she added.
"It's always been a group process. I don't take individual credit for what we have done," Siporen said of the council's efforts. She was appointed to the council in April 2003 and elected to serve in November 2004.
Wheeler said the city will advertise for Siporen's replacement and accept applications for the next few weeks. The council will consider the applications at its Aug. 20 meeting. The Aug. 6 meeting has been canceled.
Three council seats will be filled by voters in November's general election. Candidates have until Aug. 22 to submit petitions to the city. In addition to Siporen's seat, those held by E.J. McManus and Sherman Lamb expire in December.
In other business, the council:
Discussed how to handle interim appointments to the council when a member will be away for more than a month. The city charter provides for temporary appointment when a council member will be absent. Councilman Bob Wilson returned Wednesday night after a two-month absence while traveling.
"His absence really put a burden on other members," said Wheeler. "If another council member was out for family or personal reasons, every other member had to be there. We had to cancel one council meeting for lack of a quorum."
The council directed Wheeler to prepare a list of former mayors and council members who could serve on a temporary basis. The council will approve the list at its Aug. 20 meeting. The manager would find someone from the list to fill in during an extended absence.
- Approved a $4 monthly public safety surcharge to be added to water bills to support the police department. The surcharge will end July 1, 2010.
- Appointed Wheeler to serve as interim city manager three days per week in August until new City Manager Jay Henry begins work Aug. 18. Wheeler will retire July 31.
Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at email@example.com.