Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

The Baker City Council didn't do the wrong thing, exactly, in

deciding to appoint Gail Duman to replace Andrew Bryan, who resigned

May 28.

But the Council has another, better option.

Councilors, who have not formally named Duman, a former councilor,

to take Bryan's seat, should postpone the matter for a couple weeks.

In the meantime, the Council should encourage other interested residents to apply.

So far only two names have been mentioned: Duman and Gary Marlette, the latter endorsed by Councilor Milo Pope.

There is no real hurry.

Bryan's successor will serve only the rest of his term, which expires Dec. 31.

Which is not to say the Council's choice is insignificant.

If the person the council appoints decides to run as a candidate in the Nov. 2 election, that person could have an advantage as an incumbent.

We appreciate that the Council, in endorsing Duman, tried to incorporate, to the extent possible, the opinion of city voters.

Duman, who was elected to a two-year term in 2006 and then ran for re-election in November 2008, barely missed earning a second term.

She received 1,737 votes and finished fifth, 105 votes behind Clair Button, who was elected.

A compelling case can be made, then, that a goodly number of voters would agree with the Council's preference for Duman.

On other hand, those 1,737 voters cast their ballots almost 20 months ago.

Also, three other candidates also pulled in a substantial number of votes in the 2008 election. Jeremy Gilpin got 1,515, Terry Schumacher 1,348, and Marna Fahrney 1,332.

It may well be that even after considering other candidates besides Duman and Marlette, a majority of the six councilors would still vote to appoint Duman.

Which would be fine.

But we'd like councilors to have a longer list from which to choose.