Wagner appoints Bayer to city council; vote is questioned

May 19, 2009, 8:39 a.m. Updated: 19 May 2009, 5:36 p.m.

Mayor Ken Wagner appointed political newcomer Robin Bayer to fill the two years remaining on Wagner’s Baldwin City Council position at Monday night’s meeting, but questions have arisen regarding the council vote to approve the appointment.

Although the vote is being questioned Tuesday morning, Bayer was administered the oath of office by City Clerk Darcy Higgins Monday night. However, Council Members Tom Farmer and Mike Magers did not vote for Bayer, but they did not abstain. According to city officials, that means the vote was recorded as 4-0 in favor and can only be changed at the next meeting by correcting the minutes. The Signal has learned since, too, that a third council member was not in favor of the appointment, despite voting for Bayer and could change their vote. Until that next meeting, the appointment will stand.

“I know there is going to be some controversy,” Wagner said Tuesday about the appointment. “I need someone who is strong enough to stand up with me. I should have put the name out there (Monday) night and had it up for a vote in two weeks.”

Bayer was a member of Wagner’s campaign volunteers and went door-to-door seeking votes. He is a computer software architect/consultant who has lived in Baldwin City for almost eight years.

“I’ve had several discussions with Robin over the last two weeks,” said Wagner. “I think he has a good grasp of what is going on in this city. I think Robin has knocked on 85 percent of the doors in Baldwin City and is aware of what’s going on.

“I think he will bring a balance to the council,” he said.

With Bayer’s selection, four of the five council members have never served before. Tom Farmer and Bonnie Plumberg were elected in April along with Wagner. Mike Magers was appointed in January to fill Tony Brown’s term after he resigned to serve as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives. Only Ted Brecheisen, Jr., who was elected president of the council at the last meeting, has any experience on the council.

The Signal will update this story as additional information becomes available.

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