New councilmember chosen for Helena

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2003

The man who originally convinced Connie Brady to run for Helena City Council will take her place, returning to the council for the second time after being appointed at the June 2 meeting.

Jerry Pate will finish the term vacated by Brady, who announced her resignation before moving to Mobile for her husband’s job relocation.

&uot;I appreciate the opportunity to serve again,&uot; Pate said. &uot;I’m going to do the best I can.&uot;

Pate’s return to the Helena City Council comes at the recommendation of Brady, who named him in a letter to Mayor Charles &uot;Sonny&uot; Penhale as one of two preferred candidates for her replacement.

The job of council member is a familiar one for Pate, he was first elected to the Helena City Council in 1984 and served several terms before losing his seat to Mathew Pope in the previous election.

Pate was appointed to the position Monday night by a 3-2 vote. Penhale and councilmembers Tom Lefebvre and Lonny Bearden voted in favor of Pate’s appointment, with Pope and Paul DeCarlo opposing.

Penhale said at a previous meeting that he intended to consider Brady’s recommendation because the council seat was &uot;her position and she should have some say&uot; in who replaced her.

Pope said he felt the city should have held a special election to determine who would replace Brady.

&uot;I felt like there was another avenue we could have taken,&uot; Pope said. &uot;I felt like the citizens of Helena overall should have had an opportunity to decide who would take her place.&uot;

Pope said although he ran against Pate in the previous election he doesn’t &uot;harbor any ill-will toward him.&uot;

&uot;We’ll work with him and we’ll go forward from here,&uot; he said.

Pate agreed that the council can work together for Helena’s best interest.

&uot;I do understand Paul and Mathew’s vote and I have no animosity toward them,&uot; he said. &uot;I understand why they voted the way they did.&uot;

Pate has been a Helena resident for nearly 30 years. He also serves as a Den Leader for Pack 556 of the local Cub Scouts organization.

In other action the council voted to appoint Lonny Bearden as Mayor Pro-Tem, a position formerly held by Connie Brady