If elected seats are to be filled by appointment, the process had better be open for all to see.
So far, there are five candidates who have indicated they're interested in being appointed to fill the District 3 Champaign City Council seat being vacated by Kyle Harrison.
Former city council member Vic McIntosh was the first to throw his hat in the ring, and he's been joined by restaurateur Tony Pomonis, retired teacher Lynn Anderson, Lake Land College instructor Dustin Heuerman and businesswoman Barbara Kenny-Langendorf.
Harrison, who is moving to a new residence outside the Garden Hills-area district, is scheduled to leave the council on June 15. The deadline for submitting applications for appointment is noon today, and council members have scheduled public interviews with the applicants before they make their selection on June 19.
This is not the first time the council has been forced to fill a vacant seat by appointment, and the procedure established to do so is a good one. The city encourages applications from all interested parties, interviews the candidates publicly so that citizens can make their own evaluations and then makes the selection with a public vote. In other words, there is nothing secret about it.
Given his experience as a former council member, McIntosh is best equipped to join the council and make an immediate impact. Further, given the fact that he's successfully run in District 3 before, residents there clearly would be comfortable with him as their appointed representative.
That's not to say, however, that the other four applicants could not or would not do a good job. It's just that McIntosh has been there and done that.
It's unfortunate that Harrison was forced to cut his council service short. But there is no shortage of talent in the available pool of applicants, one of whom will serve until voters fill the seat in spring 2013.