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Special council meeting in Ripon moved to Dec. 7
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Dec. 7 is expected to be a longer-than-usual special session for the Ripon City Council.

That’s the new date elected leaders opted for in the selection process to fill the seat recently vacated by Tim Wheeler, who stepped down after moving his family out of state.

Council agreed at the Nov. 23 special meeting to switch dates to the following week after the original date (Dec. 2) conflicted with Ripon Chamber of Commerce’s annual Taste of Ripon event. Councilman Dean Uecker also had prior plans for that earlier date.

The Dec. 7 selection-process meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 259 N. Wilma Ave.

The applicants vying for the provisional appoint are Gary Barton, Richard Kohl, Debra Van Essen, George Saljian, Steven Verner, Rex Rodgers, Michael Ferraro, Tamra Spade and F. Phillip Kruger.

They’ll be part of the selection process consisting of each giving three-minute opening statements along with taking part in the 20-minute question & answer interview session – one at a time, per random drawing, with the others being isolated in the conference room without access to any electronic devices to “protect the integrity of the process,” City Administrator Kevin Werner said – and finishing out with a one-minute closing statement.

Werner added that the objective is “to develop a consensus” among elect leaders – currently down to an even number four with Mayor Daniel de Graaf, Leo Zuber, Mike Restuccia, and Uecker.

“If one applicant gets three votes, you’re done,” said Werner, referencing the first round of the process calling for each council member to cast his ballot.

Incidentally, the last time Council handled a vacancy was after the sudden passing of Elden “Red” Nutt in 2014, with Mark Winchell being a first-ballot selection among five candidates.

The process this time around with nine candidates could be a little bit more difficult.

“(City Attorney) Tom Terpstra and I thought about all the different scenarios,” said Werner, who noted that the second round would consist of a scoring system based on the overall rankings among the first-round selections.

With a scenario of a whittled down field, de Graaf said that “getting down to two people either way is not a bad option.”

A second round of voting could also be in the cards.

The selection is expected to be settled that night with the person picked taking the oath of office at the Dec. 14 monthly meeting.