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Phoenix council appointee informed he must step down

PHOENIX — The City Council could lose one member after a special meeting tonight.

Mayor Vicki Bear said Wednesday that when David Lewin was appointed on Feb. 21 to replace Hal Burks, who resigned, Lewin did not garner a required majority of votes. Of the four council members present, two voted for Lewin and two voted for two other people.

Legal counsel is saying a majority vote did not take place, Bear said.

David will have to step down. How the council wants to handle that afterwards is up to us but the council could decide to vote again.

Lewin declined to speculate on what would take place at the meeting.

— I don't know what's going to transpire tomorrow night, he said Wednesday. ... At this point, regardless of how it was raised, it does appear there is a legitimate issue as to whether I was appropriately appointed.

Also to be discussed at the meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, are concerns raised earlier by member Steve Schulman over the relationship between the mayor and council.

Schulman had requested an executive session to iron out problems that surfaced over the mayor's recent directive that all media inquiries must go through her, which was later rescinded. But it was determined none of Schulman's agenda items met the criteria for an executive session under Oregon statutes.

Bear said she was unnerved that some of the same council members who criticized her for her memo pushed for a closed meeting.

I am concerned because first those very same councilors were concerned about having 'open communication,' she stated in an e-mail to the Mail Tribune. The majority of the current council knew nothing about this meeting or its purpose.

Schulman said hiding public business was not his intention.

The only reason I was requesting an executive session is that I thought the seven people involved ' the mayor, the six councilors and the recorder ' should be able to sort out everything on our own, he said.

We're not trying to hide anything from the public. We're just trying to get the house back in order.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.