Roswellâ€™s mayor says he is in the preliminary stages of searching for a replacement to fill the seat of former Councilor Rob McWilliams. Mayor Del Jurney announced Tuesday that he plans to make a recommendation for the position by the end of this month, following McWilliamsâ€™ resignation over secretly recorded closed-door meetings.
Weâ€™ll start the process and I hope that by sometime this month weâ€™ll have the two necessary representatives for that ward,â€ he said. â€œI think the most likely candidate is someone who has a good knowledge of Roswell and someone who hopefully has some good business experience that can bring to the table some good ideas.â€
McWilliams resigned on Dec. 27 just before a court hearing brought by the mayor in an effort to oust the embattled councilor from office. Jurney filed the petition less than a week after city officials discovered McWilliams recorded closed sessions on four separate occasions. Due to the circumstances surrounding McWilliamsâ€™ departure, Jurney said he doesnâ€™t want to rush to fill the seat.
â€œI think a very unfortunate situation occurred and I donâ€™t want to turn around and minimize that by saying a week later, â€˜OK, hereâ€™s a replacement,â€™â€ he said.
â€œWe need to give it some time and try to really find an excellent replacement.â€ The mayorâ€™s petition to remove McWilliams from office for malfeasance, claimed that the recordings â€” which were disseminated to local news media â€” made it impossible for officials to hold future confidential meetings on personnel matters and lawsuits against the city, for example. Jurney originally declined to say how he became aware of the recordingsâ€™ existence; however, Kevin Bonner, general manger of KBIM Roswell radio, announced over the air last week that he turned over the recordings to city officials sometime after listening to their contents.
â€œMy concern was, especially with personnel matters, is any of that information would leak out … that it could cost the city a lot of money in litigation in the form of lawsuits,â€ Bonner said.
â€œI had pondered for awhile about giving them up,â€ he said. â€œIt just got to the point where it could put the city in a bad situation and the taxpayers were going to have to end up paying for it.â€ McWilliams was elected to a twoyear term and the City Council will have to vote on whether to approve the mayorâ€™s replacement for the position.