The Wentzville Board of Aldermen held a special session Wednesday night, prior to their regular meeting, to discuss the process by which the board would fill the Ward 3 seat left vacant after former Ward 3 member Nick Guccione was elected mayor last April.
A bill on the agenda for that night would allow the board to set up an application process to create a pool of potential candidates so the seat could be open to the public.
Mayor Nick Guccione, however, said that as mayor he had the authority to make the appointment he desired. Guccione’s appointee is Mike Hays, who has served in the Wentzville planning and zoning board for 16 years.
Ward 1 Alderman Forrest Gossett repeatedly told the mayor the issue was not who he chose, but the election process, which, in Gossett’s opinion, needs to be “more transparent.”
“The people have to have an input on this,” Gossett said.
Currently, the law allows the mayor to make an appointment to fill the vacant seat, but the law also permits the board to create a process for the board to make candidate recommendations. The mayor would still chose the candidate he prefers.
The special meeting finished with the mayor reinstating his position to the board, saying he would not back down from his appointment.
Hays, Guccione’s appointee, was present during the meeting. Hays told Patch that whatever process the mayor and board decide to go for, he would be happy to be a candidate for the seat.
“In my years with this city I have seen a lot of boards have heated discussions over various issues,” Hays told Patch. “It doesn’t surprise me; They all want what’s the best for Wentzville and so do I.”
During the meeting, the board moved to approve a first reading of the bill authorizing them to create a process to seek more candidates. The approval occurred after another heated discussion between the mayor and the aldermen.
“I made my appointment,” Guccione said. “I will not budge on it.”
“This is not a kingdom. It is not a dictatorship. It is a democracy,” said Ward 3 Alderman Rick Stokes.
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