A city councilor elected in May is set to start early.

Following the resignation of Councilman George Anderson from the Hermiston City Council Ward 2 position, the council advertised the vacancy and only received one applicant, Clara Beas Fitzgerald, who won the May primary election for the position with a term to start in 2015.

At its Monday meeting, council members unanimously voted to confirm Fitzgerald’s appointment after receiving the recommendation to do so from the City Council Nominating Committee, comprised of Mayor David Drotzmann and Councilwoman Jackie Myers.

City Manager Ed Brookshier said Fitzgerald will be sworn in at the Aug. 25 council meeting and will take her seat at the council’s first meeting in September. She will serve the remainder of the Anderson’s term through the end of the year, when she will begin her elected term.

Monday’s City Council meeting was the last for Brookshier, who is retiring after 23 years with the city. Byron Smith is set to take over as city manager Aug. 25. Council members thanked Brookshier for his service.

“Thank you, Mr. Brookshier, for a job well done,” Councilman Rod Hardin said.

“The city has a lot to thank you for,” Myers added.

In other action, the council unanimously passed a resolution requesting that Umatilla County maintain its current waste recycling goal of 20 percent. The state Legislature will be considering a state goal increase in 2015, and counties are being urged to raise their individual goals to help meet the new state goal.

Although the recycling goal is currently “aspirational,” with no punitive measures for not meeting it, Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan said such penalties could easily be added by the Oregon Legislature in the future. Although the county has had actual waste recovery between 29 and 32 percent for the past three years, Morgan said these rates are volatile, based on recycling markets, which could potentially lead to future punitive measures, such as mandatory curb-side recycling. He said if the city is forced to implement such a program, the cost for garbage services for city customers could double, adding $192 to the bill for a customer with 90-gallon service. Morgan said curb-side recycling in Hermiston would only increase the county recovery rate by 2 percent.

The council also met in executive session “to consult with counsel concerning the legal rights and duties of a public body with regard to current litigation or litigation likely to be filed.”

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