GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commission swore in a new member Tuesday to fill a vacant seat left by the resignation of former commission vice-president Jaye Cremeens.
“The first thing we’ll go to is the appointment of the vacant seat for city commissioner,” said Steven Wallis, commission president. “Is there a nomination from the members for a nomination of that seat?”
“I’d like to move to appoint Michael Fulks again,” commissioner Michael Brown said.
Tony Gallagher, commission vice-president, seconded the motion.
“Make the argument please,” commissioner Matt Johnson said to fellow members in regard to Fulks’ potential appointment.
Gallagher said he had made his decision and did not see a reason to explain further. Johnson insisted Gallagher walk him through the decision.
“Here is why (the appointment) it’s bad,” Johnson said.
Johnson felt removing a potential contender from upcoming elections kept the current commission more or less similar to past commissions and “bought” upcoming “safety” for current commissioners posed to run again. Robbie Jacks of Gallipolis, and Michael Fulks, of Gallipolis, were allegedly to run in the upcoming commission election. Allegedly, current commission members Michael Brown and Steven Wallis are anticipated to run for office again.
Johnson felt the commission membership should be more more available to change.
According to city solicitor Adam Salisbury, Fulks could potentially continue to run, but upon being elected would need to decide whether to take the four-year term or finish the two-year term. A new appointment would then be required.
Fulks said he did not want to enter the commission as the spark of controversy.
Wallis said it was not uncommon for city commission to disagree for those who had experienced several meetings. He also said it was important for the commission to look at individuals who had already put their names into the election race as they were potential members already geared to take on the responsibility of a commission seat and were suited to an appointment. He felt they ought to be “well-considered” for the appointment.
Brown said he felt Fulks would be a good candidate because he had put in his petition for candidacy before Jacks. He did not feel that Jacks would make a bad commissioner. He approved Fulks because he stepped forward first.
Gallagher, Wallis and Brown voted for Fulks’ appointment to city commission. Johnson voted against.
“I grew up here in a good community filled with great people,” Fulks said. ” Lots of people have moved away and we have a lot of revitalization going on. I would like to contribute and help see that happen. I want to see this friendly town flourish again.”
Fulks is a 34 year veteran of the Gallipolis Police Department and a 17 year member of the city’s fire department.
According to Fulks, he has decided to finish the two year term and not seek a position in the coming election. That currently leaves the election candidacy pool to Wallis, Brown and Jacks, assuming no other candidates arise.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.