The building’s lights began to turn off as Brian Walker stood alone in the Borough Council office about 15 minutes after the borough’s vacancy board appointed him to the vacant North Ward seat.
Walker stayed after the vacancy board hearing to speak with each council member individually to say he looked forward to working with them.
“It was a very, I think, humbling experience to be chosen,” Walker said. “I do very much look forward to getting involved. The two primary reasons, as I said before, are Bellefonte’s two revitalization projects.”
The appointment ended a 49-day vacancy for one of the borough’s three North Ward seats.
Walker received six votes, one more than necessary, from the vacancy board. The board consisted of the council’s eight current members and David Provan, a registered elector of the borough that the council appointed to lead the board in January. Provan previously served on the council.
Provan and council members Frank Halderman, Karen Harvey, Paul DeCusati, Joseph Beigle and Barry Spicer voted for Walker.
Spicer said he voted for Walker because of his leadership skills and expertise in engineering.
“We’re actually looking for someone to fill the chair for the Building and Property Committee,” Spicer said. “He’s an excellent choice to chair that, and he also brings a lot of leadership and other skills that will be good for the council.”
Each candidate made a short pitch to the board before the vote.
“I want to say thank you to all of you candidates,” Provan said after each candidate spoke. “It’s very amazing to me that we have four qualified candidates that want to serve the community and give two nights a month to serve the community.”
The board first held a vote for Sheila Stever, who received four votes, one short of being appointed to the vacant seat. Stever received votes from Provan and council members DeCusati, Renee Brown and Randall Brachbill.
Stever declined comment after the hearing.
The board did not hold votes for Claudia Wilson and Mike Scott, because the board appointed Walker with its second vote.
Walker will serve on the council for the remaining year and a half of Walt Schneider’s term. The vacancy was created when Schneider resigned June 30 due to a potential conflict of interest, because he became the borough’s new building code official on July 1.
The vacancy board hearing was set after Borough Council failed to come to a resolution at a regularly scheduled Aug. 4 meeting. Walker led all candidates with four votes, one shy of the necessary majority needed to be appointed to the council. Stever was second in votes with three. Wilson and Scott each received one vote.
The council did not hold its biweekly meeting Monday night. Don Holderman, the borough’s assistant manager, said the next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 2, to avoid holding it on Labor Day.