Kannapolis close to filling Anderson’s seat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 16, 2009

By Emily Ford
KANNAPOLIS ó The Kannapolis City Council moved one step closer Monday night to naming a successor to the late Richard Anderson.
Mayor Pro Tem Gene McCombs and council member Roger Haas, who make up the subcommittee, presented a timeline to appoint the new council member. They suggested the appointee could be sworn in on Feb. 8 or 22.
Anderson, a council member and former mayor, died in November from complications due to cancer.
McCombs, Haas and City Manager Mike Legg have met once to review the 15 applications.
“We’re indeed fortunate,” McCombs said. “It will be challenging to pare it down.”
The committee provided a summary sheet to the full council listing all 15 candidates and summarizing answers on their applications about why they want to serve and what issues facing Kannapolis are most important.
At council’s Jan. 11 meeting, McCombs and Haas will recommend a short list of candidates and suggested questions for the final interviews. The full council will interview the finalists.
Council can modify the short list and change the questions if desired. On Jan. 12, the city clerk will notify the finalists and give them the list of interview questions.
McCombs and Haas want to provide the questions in advance to help facilitate a meaningful interview, Haas said.
“We want to give them time to review the issues and gather information,” he said. “We think this will be more productive.”
Interviews likely will occur during the week of Jan. 25 or Feb. 1. They will be open to the public.
Following the interviews, council will vote, which also will be open to the public. McCombs and Haas will develop a process for voting after consulting with Legg and City Attorney Wally Safrit.
The new council member will be encouraged to attend a two-day training session with the N.C. League of Municipalities and the UNC School of Government that helps local officials understand the basics of municipal government.
Also at Monday’s meeting, council approved the low bid of $1.7 million from Propst Construction for the downtown water improvements project.
Bids came in lower than the expected $2.3 million. The city also received grants totaling about $446,000.
Work will begin Jan. 4 to replace the downtown water lines.
“We’re working very, very hard to make sure this project creates as little disruption as possible for downtown merchants, residents and shoppers,” city spokesperson Karen Whichard wrote on the city’s blog.
The city will publish the construction schedule and has launched a sister blog that will provide weekly updates on the project. Visit the blog at downtownwaterproject.wordpress.com.
The project will go block-by-block, closing one side of the street at a time. Signs will direct shoppers to parking and alternate routes.
Construction should be complete by October 2010.
Council also accepted a bid of $268,000 from Wayne Brothers Inc. to repair Stadium Drive Bridge, which was damaged during Tropical Storm Fay in August 2008.
Work should begin Jan. 11. Repairs were delayed to allow the Kannapolis Intimidators baseball team to complete its 2009 season.
The road should open to traffic in March 2010, and the Intimidators first home game is April 9.