Commission can still make the right appointment

The Marquette City Commission last week decided against appointing Tony Ghiringhelli as former Commissioner Sara Cambensy’s replacement.

We, like many of the citizens of Marquette, feel that is the only appropriate move for the commission to make. Though it would appear the publicly elected officials have other thoughts or intentions.

To reiterate, the fact that we are calling on the commission to make the appointment of Ghiringhelli is by no means representative of an endorsement. The Mining Journal always strives to maintain an unbiased and neutral position, and we want to make it clear that the Journal doesn’t prefer Ghiringhelli over other candidates who ran for the commission seat in this recent election. Should he become a city commissioner, Ghiringhelli will be held to the same standards and scrutiny as all other public officials.

The point is this: Voters in the city of Marquette have already made their decision, and we believe the commission should respect that.

The electoral process is something we must believe in for a democracy to work, and this latest move by the commission more or less appears to be an attempt to dance around that.

Under the Marquette City Charter, vacancies can be filled by appointment with a majority vote of the commission within 60 days, or a special election can be held.

Granted, no one is calling for another election to take place due to the expenses associated with it, cited at around $22,000, according to the city clerk’s office. Besides, the results of the Nov. 7 election are less than two weeks old. That public process put Ghiringhelli in fourth position, making him the most popular candidate out of those who didn’t make the top three cut.

As was noted in a recent Journal article on the matter, public speakers at Monday’s meeting said it seems the commission is taking the decision out of voters’ hands, and instead opting to recruit a person of their choosing.

As we see it, that could potentially include someone who was eliminated from contention following the August primary election, or possibly even someone who didn’t run for the seat in the first place, such as, say, an old friend of one of the commissioners.

We understand the point that things may have been completely different had we known beforehand the outcome of Cambensy’s election to the Michigan House of Representatives. Hindsight is always 20/20. But the fact of the matter is that Ghiringhelli was among the top four candidates.

If the commission chooses another candidate, or some brand new applicant, those election results and public votes are being overruled by a party of six.

It appears the commission has the power to make its appointment, and it may very well end up choosing Ghiringhelli after this is all said and done. But from where we stand, the people of Marquette have already chosen.