RENO, Nev. (KOLO)_ When Reno City Councilman David Bobzien announced he was leaving for state government, the city asked for applicants to fill his seat for the next two years.
There was no lack of applicants.
The list--after a few dropouts--stood at 137, down from 144, as a meeting February 13, 2019 began, and Council opened the public comment portion of the search. Before them--a standing room only crowd including many of those candidates and their supporters and the daunting job of choosing no more than five finalists at the end of the session.
The size of that list in itself said something.
"It used to be like pulling teeth to get people to come and listen to our council meetings," said Mayor Hillary Schieve, "and now you're seeing people getting on advisory boards and running for office. I think it speaks volumes that people want to be involved in something that has a lot of energy."
One by one, the candidates or people speaking in support walked to the podium and within the standard-allowed three-minute limit, made their case.
Collectively, as well as individually, they left an impression.
"We have a community that wants to participate and we've got to channel that energy in all the right places."
Finally it was time to vote. Each council member submitted a list of their picks. Most chose five each. The mayor had the most difficult time.
"I had about twelve," she said with a laugh.
When all the votes were added up, the council had a list of four finalists: local attorney Devon Reese, planning commissioner Britton Griffith, Pastor Nathan Dupree and small business owner Krystal Minera.
All will be invited to a public meet and greet Thursday evening at 5:30 at City Hall. Final interviews and a decision will follow Friday.
What are the council members looking for?
"For us I think it's important that we work as a team and we're not constantly on different paths," says Councilman Oscar Delgado."Now we have the opportunity to put together a team that will keep us moving forward."
"I've put my criteria on the web," says Duerr."Empathy, connectiveness. Are you ready to step up? Are you ready to do the job? Ready to commit the time?"
The mayor notes the new member will be joining them mid-term and needs to be ready to hit the ground running.
"They really have to understand land use and what the city's issues are because it's a lot of work ahead of us."