We feel strongly that the current Virginia City Council should go through an application and interview process to select a new councilor to fill the seat that will be vacated in 2015 by Mayor-elect Larry Cuffe Jr.
It would be interesting and perhaps quite enlightening to see who the candidates would be to apply for completing the two years of Cuffe’s unexpired term.
A lobbying effort by some people is underway for Mary McReynolds-Pellinen, who finished fourth in the recent City Council election, to be appointed to the seat.
We congratulate McReynolds-Pellinen on her fourth place showing. But when the election is for three councilor positions, to finish fourth does not guarantee appointment to an open seat.
And for McReynolds-Pellinen that is especially relevant because of her views on several issues critical to the future fiscal stability and betterment of the city that were published in the Mesabi Daily News prior to the election.
Those issues include:
• Anti-mining sentiments, especially regarding the new era of copper/nickel/precious metals that is poised to launch on the East Range.
• A lack of understanding of major economic development recently taken by the city. She said: “Given the lack of land available within city boundaries, I don’t think city officials have a great impact on recruiting large industry to relocate here.”
Well, what about $15 million in new development that city officials have recently worked on to add at least $360,000 to Virginia’s tax base — and all without touching general fund dollars?
And as for a large industry, how about Joy Global Inc., a worldwide leader in the mining business, that just two years ago opened a large new facility on the north end of Virginia.
Also, there is the Ulland Brothers Inc. new facility being constructed in the Highway 135 corridor between Virginia and Gilbert — an area that will be prime territory for more economic development for Virginia in the near future.
• She said she believes the city needs more green space. However, she did not address the financial impact to the city and the upkeep that more green space would require.
Virginia is fortunate to have ample green space, which is a great amenity. But city personnel are already stretched thin trying to maintain what we have currently.
There are very, very good reasons why an open appointment process for the councilor position is the best route for the City of Virginia.