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City of Ashland considers process to replace mayor, councilor

Erik Neumann / JPR
Ashland is working to find a new mayor and a new city councilor.

The city must fill two positions after Mayor Julie Akins announced her resignation last week and City Councilor Shaun Moran resigned the next day.

At a City Council meeting on Tuesday night, councilors discussed using one of their own members to serve as mayor.

"I feel more comfortable personally appointing a mayor from within this body first. If there is interest of a current sitting councilor to assume the role of mayor, I feel more comfortable doing that first," said Councilor Bob Kaplan.

Councilor Gina DuQuenne recommended Chairwoman Tonya Graham as mayor, who ran against Akins for that position and lost in 2020. But councilors decided to each individually consider the proposal, including whether they personally would be interested in the position, and instead discuss it at next week’s meeting on Feb. 7.

If no councilor agrees, they will seek applicants to fill the seat instead.

Councilor Eric Hansen said both are good options.

"I really like the idea of the mayor coming from this body. However, I recognize that there are individuals in our community that are well suited to this position that have the credentials. So I don’t feel stuck if at the next meeting there isn’t a councilor that steps up," he said.

Councilors voted to use a public application process to fill the position 3 seat vacated by Moran.

Applications are due on Feb. 14. After interviews, the new councilor will be appointed on Feb. 21.

"I feel like we have so much in front of us, so I would like to expedite this sooner rather than later," said DuQuenne.

The protocol for replacing elected officials is up to the city council, although the positions must be filled within 60 days of the resignations.

The individuals selected to fill these seats will serve terms until November 2024.

Jane Vaughan is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. Jane began her journalism career as a reporter for a community newspaper in Portland, Maine. She's been a producer at New Hampshire Public Radio and worked on WNYC's On The Media.