SYRACUSE -- An attorney, who said he has the ability to listen to residents and look after their interests, has been appointed as the newest member of the city council.
Brian Duncan was appointed Tuesday night by a 3-1 vote to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Matthew Kimmel. He was one of 13 candidates to interview for the position.
Councilman Doug Peterson voted against the appointment after unsuccessfully making a motion that Curt McCuiston, an alternate on the city's planning commission, be appointed to the post. That motion died for lack of a second.
The decision in public session came after almost 40 minutes of deliberation behind closed doors. Duncan will fill the remaining 22 months of Kimmel's term. Kimmel has been promoted to a new job, which is taking him out of state.
Following the vote, City Recorder Cassie Brown administered the oath of office to the newest council member.
The father of six, Duncan currently works as an attorney for the law firm of Lebaron & Jensen P.C., which has offices in Ogden and Layton.
"I appreciate the support," Duncan said of the vote, adding, "I'd better do it right."
Duncan said some of the issues debated in the city in the past year gave him pause and helped him consider running for office.
"I've heard from many residents who have been going to city council meetings, and they say nobody listens, and nobody hears ... I have been an attorney for 15 years, and sometimes we have to sit and listen to what our clients are asking and shut up for a minute," Duncan said. "I have some experience, yes, but I also have some experience shutting up and listening."
The field of candidates included former Councilman Alan Clark, who lost a re-election bid in November, former Clearfield Mayor Tom Waggoner, and two members of the city's planning commission and one alternate.
It also included Daniel Schuler, who came within one vote in November of winning a spot on the council. Fourteen candidates applied for the position, but only 13 showed up for the formal interview process, which included a three-minute presentation in front of a nearly packed house in the council chambers.
The new council member replaces a councilman who was a spark plug for debate during his two years on the council, for numerous reasons.
In his resignation letter, Kimmel said it has been an honor to serve as a council member and to defend the Constitution of the state of Utah and the United States.
Kimmel leaves office at the same time he faces a class A misdemeanor charge for the allegation that he used his position to secure privileges, for his involvement in a land purchase for the North Davis Sewer District Board.
He was a member of the board at the time and was in line to receive a $3,000 finder's fee, which he said he would have declined.