Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vote tallying error eliminates Bynum from contention; Barnes and Budd two finalists


As of 6:20 p.m., on Thursday, it appeared the Unified Government Board of Commissioners would be welcoming its newest member by the end of the night.

Instead, a vote-tallying mistake will keep the seat vacant for one more week.

Don Budd and Melissa Bynum appeared to be the two finalists for the seat, but just before the Thursday Planning and Zoning meeting was held, it was revealed that an error in the second ballot count had been made.

Instead of Bynum edging out former Unified Government Commissioner Nathan Barnes 5-4, the actual vote was 5-4 in favor of Barnes.

Budd had advanced out of the first ballot after winning four of the possible nine votes. Barnes and Bynum tied at two a piece, thus requiring the second ballot.

Because Barnes thought he had been eliminated from the process, he left City Hall --- and because of that, the final part of the process could not be held Thursday evening.

UG Mayor/CEO Mark Holland said the process would extend to next week's meeting.

Holland expressed regret about the mistake.

"I feel terrible about that and I'm not happy with it," Holland said.

The mistake capped off a long day for commissioners, which began early Thursday afternoon. Eighteen candidates were interviewed for the position. Former Kansas Sen. Mark Gilstrap removed himself from consideration during the interview process.

All votes were made via a secret ballot - none of the commissioners votes were made public.

Holland said all of the votes in the Bynum and Barnes ballot were verified with the commissioners who made them.