Topeka City Council Prepares To Seat 2 New Members

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Thoughts on leadership, goals and responsibility to the city as a whole are among questions Topeka City Council members will ask of prospective colleagues Tuesday night.

The council is seeking to fill vacancies in the District 2 and District 7 seats. Three people have applied for each. TJ Brown, Jose Martin Munoz and John Campos are vying to replace John Alcala in District 2, while Edward Callazo, Elaine Schwartz and Lisa Stubbs have applied for the District 7 seat formerly held by Bob Archer. All but Stubbs are also seeking election to the posts on the April ballot.

Alcala was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, while Archer now serves on the Shawnee County Commission.

Applicant interviews are the first item under 'New Business' on the Feb. 5 council agenda. Each member of the governing body - council members and the mayor - was allowed to submit one question to be asked of all candidates. The questions were released to 13 News and can be viewed below.

Interviews will begin with District 2, and be conducted in the order in which applications were received by the City Clerk. Each applicant will be allowed to give an opening statement of no more than four minutes. They'll then be asked the council members' and mayor's questions, with two minutes allotted for each answer. Council members and the mayor may then each ask a follow up questions.

Once questioning is complete, council members will vote via written ballot. An applicant needs five votes to be selected and balloting will continue until that happens.

Once both new members are selected, they'll take their oath from Administrative Municipal Court Judge Vic Miller and take their seats.

Interview Questions for Topeka City Council Vacancies:

1. The title of the position you are seeking is ‘City Councilman’, or ‘City Councilwoman’. Do you feel your primary obligations are to your constituents who elected you, or to the city as a whole?

To clarify, I’ve included an example of such an issue that might arise that illustrates the question above:

Would you vote for increased property taxes to repair streets, if your district had no street problems, and would not benefit from the increase in taxes?

2. Describe to me your district.

3. How would you complete the following sentence? "Leadership is..."

4. What and how much of a role should local government play in the lives of its citizens?

5. Please state the dollar amount of the City's annual operating budget. Please react to that in terms of the responsibilities of being a city councilperson.

6. Describe your participation in any community activities and how that experience will help you as a community leader.

7. What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Topeka City Council?

8. How can the City of Topeka be more transparent?