Morrisville narrows applicant list to fill Town Council seat

aramos@newsobserver.comFebruary 13, 2014 

— The Town Council has narrowed the list of candidates to fill an at-large seat to eight.

Fifteen people initially applied for the open seat, which was left vacant when former councilman Mark Stohlman was elected mayor last fall. One applicant later dropped out.

The Town Council cut the list nearly in half at a recent special meeting in which council members cast ballots for their favored candidates. The top two vote-getters were Jason Faber and Kris Gardner.

Faber, 40, is a member of the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce’s Innovation Foundation. He is the managing partner for Perimeter Studio and Conference Center.

Faber said his priority is maintaining the quality of life Morrisville, including finding ways to ease traffic on major arteries such as N.C. 54 and Morrisville-Carpenter Road.

“I think we need to take care of that before we deal with anything else,” he said.

Gardner, 37 is an attorney and has been a member of the town’s planning and zoning board since 2008. He also said transportation is a top priority.

In addition to N.C. 54, Gardner said, Church Street and Town Hall Drive are crucial.

Money to fix traffic issues will need to come from other sources besides Morrisville’s coffers, Gardner said.

“Most of our commuters don’t live here,” he said. “It’s unfair to ask Morrisvillians to fund it. We may have to ask for some federal or state grants.”

Gardner said he considers himself a “sensible moderate.”

“If appointed, my main goal is to keep the council cohesive and together,” he said.

Among those also in the running include former Morrisville Councilwoman Margaret Broadwell, Planning Board Vice Chairman Vinnie Goel and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member Brian Donnelly. Applicants Mike Roberts, Curtis Smith and Robert Crawford round out the list.

The eight candidates will give a five-minute presentation and will be interviewed further by the council during a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Town Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

The council is expected to narrow the list to about three finalists at its Feb. 26 meeting. It plans to name someone to fill the seat March 11.

Councilwoman Liz Johnson said it’s rare for the governing board to get a chance to pick a member.

“It’s an opportunity to look inward,” Johnson said. “To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of us as individuals and us as a team. (I hope) to choose an applicant to complement us as a current team. Each one of you who has applied has potential to be fine elected officials.”

Ramos: 919-460-2609; Twitter: @AlianaCaryNews

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