CHAMPAIGN — Vic McIntosh and Tony Pomonis remain in a dead heat for the vacant District 3 city council seat after sitting representatives cast four rounds of tie votes on Tuesday night as they tried to decide who gets the appointment.
Without Kyle Harrison, who left his District 3 office last week, the eight-member council gave each candidate four 4-4 votes. All four polls were along unbudging voting lines.
That leaves the seat vacant until their next try on July 10.
Neither McIntosh nor Pomonis were surprised by Tuesday's tie vote. They both said they knew it would be close.
"Whoever gets picked has some work cut out for them," said Pomonis, who owns Merry-Ann's Diner.
McIntosh, a former council member, has sat on the other side of the appointment process. He said having four quality candidates in front of them makes it a tough choice for city council members.
"I'm sure they'll work it out," McIntosh said.
To make the pick, one or more city council members are going to have to change their minds.
In the McIntosh camp were council members Paul Faraci, Deborah Frank Feinen, Karen Foster and Michael La Due. Voting for Pomonis were Mayor Don Gerard and council members Tom Bruno, Marci Dodds and Will Kyles.
The process for making the appointment is somewhat convoluted but a time-tested technique for filling vacant city council seats. Sitting council members are presented with a resolution for the appointment, but the name of the appointee is left blank.
Once the resolution is called for a vote, the senior-most council member makes a suggestion of whose name should fill that blank — that nominee gets the first up-or-down vote. The second-most senior representative may also make a suggestion, and that continues down the line until all the council members have made a nomination or passed on their opportunity.
The first nominee to get five votes gets his or her name in that blank and likely wins the appointment after the council takes a final vote on the resolution.
In the first round, McIntosh got the first nomination from La Due — and a 4-4 vote. Pomonis got the second pick from council member Bruno — and another 4-4 vote. Gerard put up Lynn Anderson for a poll, but she did not receive enough votes to stick around. The fourth candidate, Barbara Kenny-Langendorf did not receive a nomination.
On to round two: Pomonis got the first pick this time (the second-most senior member gets the first pick in the second round), and McIntosh got the second nomination. And two more 4-4 votes.
It continued like that for two more rounds until the city council decided to postpone another vote until the July 10 meeting.
"I just want to thank all of the candidates for being here and being involved," Feinen said. "It's much harder to sit out there than it is to sit up here."
Harrison announced last month that he would be leaving office as he was preparing to move to a new home outside his district, but the effective resignation date was June 15. Council members have 60 days from that point to fill the seat.
The appointee would be entitled to the seat until the end of Harrison's unexpired term in May 2013. Voters will decide during an April 2013 election who gets the seat beyond that.
"Right now, that seat is vacant," Pomonis said. "And whoever gains the seat is going to do a great job."