Thursday, May 30, 2013

Budd, Bynum advance to final vote for vacant UG seat


The newest member of the Unified Government's Board of Commissioners will either be Don Budd or Melissa Bynum.

After five hours of interviews and debate, the Unified Government Board of Commissioners selected Budd and Bynum to advance to tonight's final vote.

Budd earned four votes on the initial ballot, while Bynum edged out former commissioner Nathan Barnes on the second ballot. Bynum and Barnes each received two votes on the initial ballot, requiring the second ballot.

Commissioners did not announce their votes publicly, as the ballots were kept anonymous.

UG Mayor/CEO Mark Holland, however, noted that four candidates stood above the pack in the interview process, one of which included Bynum.

Holland said his goal was to find a candidate who could receive 8 or 9 votes from the board.

"My challenge has been one in the same for the board," Holland said, saying the ideal candidate would "bring a voice that would bring people together."

Commissioner Ann Murguia said her votes were made based on the candidates' ability to get things done.

"We are not short on vision with this commission," Murguia said. "(My vote) was determined based on who has the ability to get things done."

Two of the more prominent names in the competition did not play too much of a role in the final outcome. Kelly Kultala did not receive a vote, while Mark Gilstrap pulled out of the "race" during the interview stage.

While commissioners did not disclose who they voted for, Jane Winkler Philbrook came the closest to making an endorsement, singling out Bynum on being someone who "actually answered all of the questions."

The choice between Budd and Bynum will be made at tonight's regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. The vacant seat was created after Holland was elected mayor in April.