City Council this afternoon chose Sean Paige, former editorial page editor of The Gazette, to replace District 3 Councilman Jerry Heimlicher.
Paige was selected after five ballots.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Lionel Rivera announced that because there appeared to be no consensus among council members, the selection would be conducted by vote.
Rivera said that council would use the method of voting employed by the International Olympic Committee in choosing a host city for the 2016 Games. The ballots would be secret, with each council member writing the name of candidate, and passing the folded paper to the city clerk, who would tabulate the ballots.
The low scorers would be eliminated, and the top three would move on, until one candidate received five votes.
Only four candidates received votes during the first round: Janet Suthers (one), Paul Johnson (two), Phil Lane (two) and Paige (three).
During the next round, Paige received four votes, and Johnson and Lane each received two. Johnson was eliminated during the next round.
In the penultimate round, Lane and Paige each received four votes. The mayor then called a 10 minute recess.
During that time, Councilman Bernie Herpin asked Paige whether he could be a cooperative and collegial member of council. Paige assured Herpin that he would be easy to work with.
Council reconvened and Herpin said that although Suthers had been his first choice, he was supporting Paige.
Paige prevailed in the final vote by a 5-3 margin. He will be sworn in during Monday’s informal City Council meeting.
In supporting Paige, Darryl Glenn, Scott Hente, Tom Gallagher and Randy Purvis sounded a common theme. Council, Hente said, should not fear dissent, but welcome it.
“As some of you may recall,” he said, “Sean Paige and I got into a very public argument at a downtown restaurant a couple of years ago.”
But, Hente said he learned that being exposed to different points of view led to better decision making, citing his interactions with Glenn.
Paige, who had said with evident disbelief prior to the meeting that, “I’ve been told that I have three votes-can you believe it?” was clearly delighted to have been chosen.
”I’m looking forward to it,” he said.