Business, City of Seward, Politics

Iris Darling Appointed to Council

Iris Darling is sworn into office to fill the Seward City Council seat formerly held by the late Vanta Shafer. Heidi Zemach photo.
Iris Darling is sworn into office to fill the Seward City Council seat formerly held by the late Vanta Shafer. Heidi Zemach photo.

Heidi Zemach for SCN –

Faced with the difficult decision of choosing from among three well-respected, and well qualified Seward women, and after repeated paper-ballot votes, the Seward City Council approved Iris Darling, longtime owner of Brown and Hawkins, to fill the seat held by the late councilwoman Vanta Shafer.

“They’re going to be tough shoes to fill,” Darling commented beneath her breath as she came forward to be sworn into office, for a term that expires October 2014.

Many people had phoned her and had encouraged her to run, Darling said. Her personal work load had been lightened with the recent closure of Brown & Hawkins, the store she had managed since 1989, along with her husband Hugh. Darling also has served on the Seward Chamber of Commerce as a board member and as its President, and on the Seward Historic Commission.

“It would be an honor to have the opportunity to give something back to the community that has been so good to me and my family,” she wrote in her candidate’s statement.

Sandra Roach and Deborah Altermatt, also both with local business experience, and political experience serving on the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission and Port and Commerce Advisory Board respectively also ran for the seat.


When a council member dies, or leaves office prior to the next election, the council appoints a replacement to fill their seat until the next municipal election.

The first vote, by secret ballot, tallied by the City Clerk, was a three-way tie, with each candidate receiving two votes.  They voted a second time, and this time, Darling received three votes, Altermatt received two and Roach got one.

Dave Squires then made a motion to call for a voice vote on approving of the top vote getter, as the winner requires four of the six council votes. Confused on procedure, they adjourned briefly in order to enable City Clerk Johanna Kinney to double-check voting procedures.

When the meeting resumed, the clerk said they could carry out Squires’ motion, or vote again until receiving four votes, or a combination of the two. But Councilwoman  Marianna Keil called for another vote, explaining that she’d like to see the person selected get the majority of votes. Squires rescinded his motion in order to hold that vote.  The third time Darling received four votes and Altermatt received two.  Then they held a voice vote, and approved Darling by unanimous consent.

In other business, council appointed Martha Fleming, Cindy Ecklund and Christopher Edgar to terms on the Planning and Zoning Commission, filling that body’s vacancies for the first time in quite a while. Fleming and Ecklund’s terms expire in February 2017, and Edgar’s expires in February of 2015.

Keil and the other council members thanked everyone who applied for the council and P&Z Commission seats, noting it’s a difficult thing to put oneself out there.


One Comment

  1. Excellant choice!