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Musical chairs will determine next Ripon mayor
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RIPON – The mayoral seat will be filled each year on a rotational basis.

The Ripon City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday on the ordinance establishing the new selection process.

“It takes the politics out of the system,” said Vice Mayor Gary Krebbs, who, along with his colleague Chuck Winn, provided the no votes.

Rather, he believes that the “best person” should be selected mayor and not a musical chairs-type formula.

Under that formula, Krebbs, who’s up for re-election, would be the next in line for mayor.

“My concern is the formula is a way to automatically take the pressure off the council (in selecting a mayor),” said Winn, who had previous stints as mayor.

He added: “There’s a tremendous learning curve – my experience is that it takes more than a year to become accustomed (to the post).”

According to City Attorney Tom Terpstra, the ordinance will officially take effect in January 2013.

“Each seat will be numbered from one to five and the seat numbers will never change,” he said. “Everyone will have an opportunity and no one will be forced to serve (as mayor).”

Council members Charlie Gay and Dean Uecker served on the mayoral selection process committee.

Under the ordinance, Seat No. 1 will also be that of the mayor. The post is currently held by Elden ‘Red’ Nutt.

Seat No. 2 is the vice mayor’s position occupied by Krebbs, with Gay and Uecker respectively in Seat No. 3 and Seat No. 4. Winn, who was the previous mayor, is in Seat No. 5.

The ordinance states that “the outgoing mayor will move to Seat No. 5 and the new mayor will be the person that has been moved to Seat No. 1.”

Krebbs, Nutt and Gay have terms that expire this year.

In election years, the ordinance said, the “re-elected council members move to the next lowest open seat in the order held prior to re-election.

“A newly elected council member will fill the highest open seat number. If there is more than one newly elected council member, seat placement will be determined by the number of votes the newly elected council member received during the election.”

In such case, Uecker would have a chance to become mayor while Winn would hopscotch to vice mayor.

“I was under the impression that the committee was to meet, make recommendations, and conduct a workshop,” Krebbs said. “I never heard about the situation of musical chairs.”

Winn noted the mayoral post is one of leadership. In past years, the council has appointed this post and others during the annual organizational session.

“It’s the system that’s worked in the 10 years since I’ve been here,” he said.

Nutt, however, believes that each council member is capable of serving as mayor under this new process.

“We’re supposed to work as a team,” he said.

Gay agreed, saying, “We’re all equals.”