The vacancies were created by the deaths of councilmen Eric Johnson and Brian Bayles in an airplane accident on August 8. The three remaining members of the Council, Mayor Toni Turk and City Manager Chris Webb interviewed 15 city residents who volunteered to fill the vacant council seats.
Mayor Turk is pleased that so many people volunteered to serve. “People are stepping up to fill their shoes,” said Turk, who expressed hope that the healing will continue in Blanding after the deaths of Johnson, Bayles and previous council member Kim Acton.
The three remaining Council members, Kelly Laws, Erik Grover and Joe B. Lyman, reached consensus in the appointment of the two new council members. The new councilmen serve until the municipal election in November, 2009.
Taylor, a Utah Highway Patrolman, received the next highest number of votes when he ran for the Council in 2007. Thacker is supervisor at the Port of Entry in Monticello. He has experience in procurement and contracting that may be helpful to the city.
Community members who volunteered to serve include Gary White, Robert Ogle, Jim Slavens, Sandra Asbury, Jed Tate, Robert Turk, Ralph Redd, Josh Kotter, Dan Hurst, John Young, Jon Hunt, Kevin Averett and Donna Blake.
Each candidate had only seven minutes with the council, but it took nearly two hours to complete the interview process. In addition to the interview, each candidate submitted a letter and resume.