(Posted March 7, 2019)
By Andrew Garrett, Staff Writer
The last vacant seat on Mount Sterling’s village council has been filled.
In a special meeting on March 5, council approved the appointment of Marci Darlington. Mayor Billy Martin administered the oath of office.
Darlington’s appointment fills the last of three seats vacated when former council members Rebecca Burns, Tammy Vansickle and Tom Ward stepped down in February. Her appointment was preceded by the installations of Mike Bennett and Craig Hix.
A long-time resident of Madison County, Darlington has lived in Mount Sterling for the past four years with her husband, John. Her ties to the village go back to her days as a student. She graduated from Madison-Plains High School in 1976.
Darlington works as the parks and recreation director for the village of West Jefferson. Her experience with the internal workings of village government, as well as her involvement in community organizations, secured her appointment, the mayor said.
As West Jefferson’s parks and recreations director and now a Mount Sterling council member, Darlington will alternate her Monday evenings with council meetings between the two municipalities–but from opposite sides of the table. She knows she has her work cut out for her and is looking forward to the challenge, she said.
Mount Sterling is set to be a great village again, according to Darlington. “It just needs some support and some fresh blood,” she said.
David Timmons, council president pro tem, enthusiastically welcomed Darlington to council, saying, “Glad to have her on the crew here and working with us. She’ll find out we get a lot done…some days it’s going to be easier than others.”
“We have a really good group now,” the mayor added after welcoming Darlington. “I feel like that we’re moving forward at a quicker pace than we were several months ago.”
Council member Becky Martin thanked the dozen or so residents who applied for the vacant seats, noting that the decisions on who to appoint were not easy.
Also during the special meeting, council passed two pieces of legislation on first reading. One calls for approval of the recovery plan for the general fund while the village is under fiscal emergency. The other provides for the county auditor to confirm the recovery plan as is required under fiscal emergency.
Representatives from State Auditor David Yost’s Office have been in constant consultation with Mount Sterling officials throughout the budget process and are likely to approve it once it is adopted by council, said Courtney Bricker, the village’s fiscal officer. The plan should have been approved by council by this point, Bricker added, but the process was delayed when the three former council members left their seats.
At the current rate of savings the village is operating under, there is hope the fiscal emergency will be lifted by the end of this year, Bricker said.
Darlington abstained from voting on both measures, as she had not yet been briefed on them. Second readings were held on March 6. Third readings are set to take place during council’s regularly scheduled meeting on March 11.