ROANOKE, VA. – On Monday, Roanoke City Council took the next steps to fill the open spot left by Djuna Osborne’s resignation.
They whittled it down to their short list of replacements for Osborne’s seat in just three days. They brought them in for interviews with the city council on Monday afternoon.
“We had a really great diverse pool of applicants of the 21 who applied and it was difficult to narrow it down to five, but that’s part of the decision-making process," Vice Mayor Joe Cobb said.
Osborne resigned last month to spend more time with family. Out of 21 applicants, Joseph Clements, Beth Doughty, Alvin Nash, Luke Priddy and Vivian Sanchez-Jones were selected to compete for her council seat. Council asked them what they’d bring to the role, what they think the city’s issues and successes are and how’d they’d solve inequalities, among other questions.
Later Monday, 28 residents came out to share their thoughts on the process.
“You’re seeking someone as I understand to complete an expired term of two years, it’s important that that person be able to participate on council in a meaningful way very quickly," David Nixon said.
Another dozen sent emails for consideration. Most were in support of Luke Priddy, and then Vivian Sanchez-Jones.
“Djuna came in second place to Vice-Mayor Cobb in that election, Roanoke spoke very loudly that year that they wanted a Progressive in that seat, Luke is that person," Barbara Andes said.
But council will make the final decision, not the public, and continues to stand behind appointing someone rather than filling the seat by special election.
Vice Mayor Cobb said it will be more of a discussion rather than a straight vote for their decision.
“Who we think we will be the best match for this moment in time to fill this vacancy, in ways that we can continue to reflect what makes us strong as a council and as a city," Cobb said.
Council will host another public comment session Monday, Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. and then expects to make its selection during the 7 p.m. session that night.