DURHAM — By luck of the draw, Durham City Council applicant Don Moffitt has won one thing in his bid for departing Councilman Mike Woodard’s Ward 3 seat.
His name came up first in a drawing to set the order of candidate interviews at the council’s special meeting Jan. 4.
Each of the four candidates will get an hour with the five remaining council members and Mayor Bill Bell. Moffitt’s starts at noon, followed by Anita Daniels at 1 p.m., Edward L. Kwon at 2 p.m. and Jason Hesham Melehani at 3 p.m..
“If they can’t make it, we’re not rescheduling,” said Councilwoman Diane Catotti.
Setting the order was part of the business of a special council meeting Thursday on procedures for filling the seat Woodard resigned after winning election to the state Senate in November.
Durham’s city code gives the council 60 days to fill the vacant council seat. If it doesn’t make the appointment, it must call a special election by:
• Holding a stand-alone general election at least 30 days before the next scheduled municipal election. For 2013, the municipal primary is tentatively set for Oct. 8 and the general election Nov. 5, City Attorney Patrick Baker said.
• Tying the special election to a scheduled election. In this case, the special election would not be particularly special, since the Ward 3 seat is up for election in 2013 anyway, Baker said.
A stand-alone election would cost the city an estimated $170,000. Anyone the council appoints to the Ward 3 seat will have to run for election if he or she wants to keep the position.
“I’m sure as hell not voting to have a special election at a cost to the taxpayers of $170,000 to fill a seat ... that will not even last that long,” Councilman Eugene Brown said.