Roanoke mayoral candidates at odds over decision to appoint new council member

Djuna Osborne resigned Sept. 16, six weeks before the election

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke’s Independent candidate running for mayor, David Bowers, is speaking out against the Roanoke City Council decision to appoint someone to fill an empty seat instead of holding a special election.

Bowers, who has served as mayor before, said the decision to appoint someone to fill Djuna Osborne’s seat isn’t fair to the other candidates on the ballot or to the voters.

“They’re going to choose one of their own to replace one of their own and the only people that can stop it is you, the voters of Roanoke,” said Bowers.

Roanoke’s attorney said that Osborne’s resignation came too close to the November 3 election, so even if the council had chosen to ask the courts for a special election, it would have had to be held after November 3.

Mayor Sherman Lea, who is running for reelection, told 10 News in reference to comments made by Bowers, “My opponent is saying anything that can smear people. He’s crushing the integrity of this council. There’s no need for that.”

Lea said the council is abiding by the law and having the city attorney guide them through the process.

“It will be public. It’s the most transparent process you can have. The citizens are going to come and tell us who they support. You can’t get any more transparent than that. That’s ludicrous what he’s talking about," said Lea.

Roanoke City Council is accepting applications from citizens interested in being appointed to council, before making a final decision on October 19.

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