Common Council fills vacant seat

Frawley chosen from four applicants, sworn in as District 1 alderman

By Dave Fidlin


The Whitewater Common Council is back to seven active members with the appointment of resident and local businessman Phil Frawley in the city’s first aldermanic district.

Five residents within District 1, located on Whitewater’s east side, threw their hats in the ring after former Alderman Jim Olsen announced last month that he was resigning from the council because he was moving out of the community.

The council immediately began a campaign to fill the vacancy and gave interested residents a July 9 deadline for filling out the appropriate paperwork for consideration.

One resident, James Allen, sent his application two days past the deadline. The council briefly debated whether Allen should be considered for the position, but the majority of the six sitting members opted not to consider him because of the missed deadline.

The council gave the other four applicants an opportunity to offer a brief presentation on why they were interested in serving on the council at a meeting last week. They included Frawley, Tiiu Gray-Fow, Craig Stauffer and Ryan Tevis.

After hearing from each person, the council voted, in a split 3-3 motion, to have Frawley and Gray-Fow serve on the council. Both applicants have a strong business background – an attribute the sitting members deemed a strength.

“I think Mr. Frawley brings a perspective that I’d like to see on the council,” Alderwoman Stephanie Abbott said.

Olsen’s seat expires in 2015. By state statute, the remaining year on his term is up for grabs in April during the regular spring election. In the interim, however, the council has the authority to do as it pleases with the vacancy.

Immediately after Olsen announced his departure, the other six sitting members adamantly agreed they believed someone should be filling that seat and went through the appointment method.

Frawley indicated he does plan to run in next year’s election – a proclamation that might have given him an edge over Gray-Fow, who stated she was uncertain about running.

“I’d like to keep a steady flow in the council chambers,” Frawley said, explaining his rationale.

When the council took a second vote after asking the two finalists a series of questions, Frawley was appointed on a 6-0 vote.

Frawley, who has owned the Frawley Oil Company since 2002, has previously served on the board overseeing the Whitewater Chamber of Commerce. He has also served on the city’s Retail Committee.

During his presentation, Frawley said he was concerned about the overall marketing of Whitewater.

“It’s not necessarily viewed as a destination for younger families to come to,” Frawley said. “I think there’s got to be a way to market this as a destination spot where people want to live.”

Frawley said he also would like to see the council interact more regularly with individual members of the city’s business community.

Common Council President Patrick Singer said he believed the selection of Frawley best represents the interests of constituents within District 1 since Olsen had a strong business background and was handily voted into the position in his last go-around.

Frawley was instantly sworn in after he was formally appointed. For the duration of last week’s meeting, he served as an active, voting member of the council.

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