C’burg council seat interviews begin Monday
Monday, Christiansburg Town Council will interview 10 people interested in filling the council seat vacancy.
Council hopes to narrow the field to three finalists for a second interview – and a decision – at its Jan. 7 meeting.
The vacancy came about when current Councilman Michael Barber, who has two years left on his term, was elected mayor in November. Under state law, council must select an individual to fill the first year, then hold a special election in November 2014 for the remaining year of that term.
The list includes: Samuel M. Bishop, Wayne E. Booth, Allen N. Butterfield, Harry F. Collins, Karen L. Drake, Kathy A. Duncan, Gary W. Fissell, David J. Franusich, Melissa (Lisa) L. Gardner, and Richard H. (Hil) Johnson.
Eleven people applied, but one candidate was eliminated for failure to produce documentation showing they were a registered voter in the town.
Previous council seat vacancies had been filled in closed session. Councilman Cord Hall has been very outspoken that this would not be the case this time around and pushed for the open session Monday night where the public could hear candidates’ questioning.
Bishop and Franusich ran for Christiansburg Town Council in the November election. They finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the three-seat race. Bishop received 2,556 votes, while Franusich got 1,744 votes.
Bishop, a retired a police officer, is currently serving as a security officer at Carilion Clinic in Radford.
Franusich, a local planning expert, has been instrumental in starting a downtown business group that held several events this past summer in an effort to draw people to the downtown area.
Booth is a former council member and member of the town’s planning commission, being involved in community events for most of his life.
The other seven are lesser known in political circles, and like Booth did not seek the post in November’s election.
Gardner is an adjunct professor at American National University and formerly at Radford University. She has also served as a police officer. Fissell is a retired employee for the city of Lynchburg.
No other information was available on the other candidates before the upcoming meeting, and none were available for comment.
Monday’s meeting is open to the public beginning at 5 p.m. in town hall, but candidates will only take questions from sitting council members. Barber will serve as moderator but will not be involved in the questioning or decision making for his replacement.
– Written by Marty Gordon