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Royal Oak

Former commissioner will fill Capello vacancy

Poulton named mayor pro tem

June 10, 2013

ROYAL OAK — The resignation of Mayor Pro Tem Patricia Capello May 20 left the commission responsible for filling two spots: the mayor pro tem and the vacant commission seat.

The City Commission filled both at the June 3 meeting after unanimously appointing former Commissioner Carlo Ginotti to fill Capello’s role as commissioner until November — when Capello’s seat is up for election. It also unanimously named Commissioner David Poulton as mayor pro tem.

Mayor Jim Ellison said during the meeting that he had talked with three former commissioners and only Ginotti expressed interest in taking on Capello’s vacated seat. He added that Ginotti had no desire to run for the seat in November.

Phone calls to Ginotti for an interview were not returned as of press time.

Ginotti served on the commission four years ago, Ellison said.

Ellison said he took it upon himself to reach out to the former commissioners because there would be little time for on-the-job training due to the short time before the election.

“We zeroed in on previous commissioners because they come with the knowledge base already and they can hit the ground running,” Ellison said.

Poulton said that he had planned to call applicants to submit letters of interest but said if Ellison had already found an interested candidate, then he would go along with the mayor’s choice.

“Since we do have six months, I think it would be best to fill it with someone who’s been on the commission,” he said.

While commissioners eventually approved Ginotti’s appointment unanimously, some expressed caution at the fairness of the appointment.

Commissioner Jim Rasor said he would be surprised if a better candidate was out there but expressed reservations to make the decision so quickly.

“I’m a little reticent to appoint him tonight just because I feel like having a fair and open process might be a better reflection — even though I think he’d be an awesome candidate,” Rasor said.

He said the commission may be better off allowing people currently serving on other city committees to apply.

Ellison said it was important to fill the seat as fast as possible because the seventh vote of the commission often acts as a tiebreaker. He added that in the past, when the commission did not fill a vacancy, there were several tied votes that impeded the commission from acting.

“My only concern is that we wouldn’t be able to act on (the appointment) until the following meeting, and then we don’t have somebody on board until July,” he said.

Poulton named mayor pro tem

Poulton said days later in a phone interview that it was an honor to be supported unanimously by his peers and named the mayor pro tem.

“I look forward to serving in that role and serving with the new commissioner,” Poulton said.

He went on to thank Capello for her service.

In the mayor pro tem role, Poulton will take the place of Ellison at events or meetings that the mayor cannot attend.

“In the mayor’s absence, you represent the city, and I think that would be a privilege for me to do,” Poulton said.

Since Capello’s resignation, he and Rasor are the longest-serving commissioners. Both have served since 2009.

Commissioner Peggy Goodwin made the motion to name Poulton as mayor pro tem.

“I think he’ll do a great job,” Goodwin said during the meeting.

Ellison said that Poulton was at the top of his list, as well.

“It’s a wise choice,” Ellison said.

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