The City of Aberdeen Civil Service Commission was at risk of starting 2016 without a quorum following heated discussion on Wednesday night.
The civil service commission for Aberdeen consists of 4 residents serving four year terms and a sitting councilmember serving a 1 year term. The commission serves as oversight for hiring and firing of civil service jobs, including police and fire.
Currently Jerry Mills is the council representative. As Mills will not retain his seat starting January 1, and two other commission members have expiring terms, as of January 1 there would not be a quorum if a meeting was needed. Mayor Bill Simpson recommended that the two members with expiring terms be re-appointed prior to the end of the year.
One of these members is Reverend Tom Halbrook. The other is Bill D. Simpson, the Mayor’s son. Following the recommendation, Councilman Jim Cook asked that the appointment be tabled, alleging that the Mayor was trying to appoint his son prior to the end of his term.
“I see this as nepotism, straight out and out” said Cook, adding “I think this position would be better appointed by the next administration.”
Councilman Pete Schave questioned Cook, asking if there was more to his concern.
“I’d like to know if Councilman Cook has any reason to oppose this, or is this just another one of his foolish oppositions to anything he could come up with?’
After heated discussion between the council, the members were split into separate appointments, with Rev. Halbrook being re-appointed and Bill D. Simpson’s appointment being voted down.