The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Vote puts Darling on Seward City Council


Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Seward City Clerk Johanna Kinney swears in the newest city council member, first timer Iris Darling, who was appointed at Monday's regular meeting of the body.

Local personality and businesswoman Iris Darling was appointed from a field of three applicants who stood for the Seward City Council seat vacated by Vanta Shafer. Shafer died Jan. 18, three short months after her re-election to an eighth term as council member.

Councilor Marianna Keil prefaced Monday evening's appointment process with thanks to the applicants. As her fellow councilors nodded agreement, Keil cited the candidates individual qualifications as adding to the difficulty of making a particular choice. Indeed, the paper ballot came up evenly tied between the three applicants in the first round of voting. Upon the second round Darling picked up an additional vote at the expense of candidate Sandie Roach, leaving fellow applicant Deborah Altermatt with two votes to her one.

Councilor Dave Squires moved to accept the three votes for selection of Darling as the nominee with a second by councilor Ristine Casagranda. Keil then raised the issue of whether four ballot votes are required to progress to an appointment vote, as Darling did not have a majority of the votes cast, only more than the other two candidates individually. After a recess, City Clerk Johanna Kinney rendered the opinion that city code required a majority of votes only on appointing the selected nominee, not when selecting a nominee.

However, the council went along with Keil's interest in obtaining a majority of paper ballots for selecting a nominee for appointment. The next round of paper ballots gave four votes of the six councilors present to Darling. Squires reasserted his motion and, with Keil's successful motion for unanimous consent, Darling was appointed and sworn in.

She assumed the position at the council dais between Squires and City Manager Jim Hunt.

In October 1992 her husband, Hugh, was too appointed by council vote to a seat vacated by Dave Crane who ran a successful race for mayor in that fall's local election. Hugh continued to serve on council until October 1995, including a stint as vice mayor in his final year.

Iris will serve until the October municipal election. Then whoever successfully runs for that seat will serve a one-year term. Iris is making no commitments beyond her present engagement, but if anyone can predict another winter like this one, that will probably add to the likelihood of an Iris Darling campaign in the fall.

While Iris serves out her term, the couple will reopen their Sweet Darlings Candies shop in April, and they will be joined by a new tenant next door in the now vacant Brown & Hawkins store. In October, the duo closed down the Fourth Avenue clothing and variety store, which had been operated by the family in one form or another since 1903. A candy store first operated out of the set of three adjoining historic buildings in 1907.


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