Council plans to avoid mayoral tie in Langley selection

To avoid what is considered the catastrophic possibility of the county commissioners selecting Langley’s next mayor, the City Council met in a special session Wednesday to iron out the process of interviewing mayoral candidates 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19.

With council members Bruce Allen and Hal Seligson in the running for mayor, they’ll be sitting out the decision making process. Instead, the will be seated in the audience with the other candidates, Bruce Allen, Ed Anderson and Fred McCarthy.

The questioning and decision making will be done by the three remaining council members, Jim Sundberg, Rene Neff and Doug Allderdice.

Sundberg said there was some question whether the candidates by law had to step aside, but Allderdice interjected: “Hal and Bruce want this as open and fair as possible so a council candidate doesn’t already have a vote in his pocket.”

Sundberg presided at the meeting which all five candidates but no members of the public attended. He said a set of rules was needed “in anticipation of a possible tie.”

That would be a deadlocked vote of 1-1-1 by the three council members.

One way to break the tie would be for either Allen or Seligson to withdraw as a candidate, which would allow one of them to vote, or both should they each decide to withdraw.

Short of that, a second vote will be attempted. If there’s still a tie, there will be a weighted vote, with each ballot listing the first, second third, fourth and fifth choices.

Theoretically, this would make another tie highly unlikely, if not impossible.

“We have anticipated all the numeric outcomes,” Allderdice said. If a tie and stalemate did occur, then the county commissioners would have 90 days to pick a mayor.

At Neff’s suggestion, the five questions to be asked of each candidate will be rotated, so every one will have to answer first and last. Then each will be given a chance for a summary statement.

The voting will be done in writing. City Clerk Debbie Mahler will announce the totals and who voted for whom.