Four Apply For Open Topeka City Council Seat

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Four people have applied for the vacant District 2 seat on the Topeka Council.

The deadline to apply was 5pm Monday. Among the four filing is T.J. Brown, who held the seat for several months in early 2013. Brown was appointed when former councilman John Alcala was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives.

Brown lost in the primary election to Martin Munoz and John Campos. Campos won the election and the seat is now vacant because Campos resigned after entering a diversion agreement on charges he falsified an insurance document following a traffic stop.

Munoz also has applied for the opening. He submitted his paperwork late Monday.

The other two applicants are Keri Strahler and Katrina Bayless.

City Council members will interview the candidates at their meeting Tuesday. Plans call for them to immediately vote on their selection, although they may decide to defer the vote until their next meeting. The person they choose will serve the remainder of the term, which expires in April 2015.

The vote requires a majority of the governing body, which includes the remaining eight council members and the Mayor.

Further details on the process from City Communications Director Suzie Gilbert:
The Mayor and each Council member may submit one question to be asked of all applicants. While the ordinances don’t require that the questions be shared with the applicants before the interview, the practice has been to distribute the questions so that the applicants can be better prepared.

Interviews are conducted in the order the applications were received. The interview begins with an opening statement by the applicant and is followed by the answering of the questions submitted by the Mayor and Council members.

Order of interviews:
1. Keri Strahler
2. Katrina Bayless
3. TJ Brown
4. Martin Munoz

After the interviews are concluded, the Council may conduct an election or defer the election to the next Council meeting (i.e. June 10). The City Clerk will distribute ballots and each member shall vote for one person and sign the ballot. The Clerk shall read each ballot. Balloting continues until one person secures five votes. If no applicant receives five votes, the balloting may continue or the Council may defer the election until the next Council meeting.