The Homer City Council has a new member. At their meeting Monday night, council members chose James Dolma to fill the seat left by Beth Wythe when she was elected mayor in August. Dolma will fill out the rest of Beth Wythe’s term, which ends next year.
When he came before the council for his job interview Monday afternoon, Dolma struck a modest tone.
"I don't like to toot my horn," said Dolma. " I think the skill set to be a good council person and the skill set to promote oneself are different skill sets ... I do feel I have the necessary qualities to be a good representative on the city council."
Dolma told council members that he has lived in Homer for 22 years and has raised his family here. In that time, he has served in the city Planning Commission and has volunteered his time with many local non-profit organizations, including the South Peninsula Haven House, the Pratt Museum and the Bunnell Street Arts Center.
Dolma says he is a supporter of parks and green spaces, as well as promotion of local businesses and the advancement of the natural gas project.
Dolma’s opponent for the council appointment, Sharon Minsch, is a realtor who also has a wealth of experience with city government, including a stint as chair of the Planning Commission. Earlier this year, she lost out to council member Beau Burgess for another open seat on the city council.
Minsch said she ran because she sees the council being faced with some tough decisions in the near future, including how to continue to pay for existing city services in uncertain economic times.
If Dolma’s name sounds familiar to Homer voters, it may because it was on the ballot in the municipal election August 28th. In a three-way race for two available city council seats, Dolma narrowly lost out to second-place finisher, incumbent Beau Burgess. Burgess collected 472 votes compared to Dolma’s 429. Incumbent Francie Roberts held on to her seat by pulling in 630 votes.
It may have been that commitment to running for the seat in the last election that pushed Dolma ahead of Minsch. Council members picked Dolma in a secret ballot by a vote of 5 to 0.
Later in the evening, at the conclusion of Dolma’s first full city council meeting, he kept his comments brief, saying thank you to the city staff and City Manager Walt Wrede for their hard work.
The Homer City Council’s next meeting is set for Monday, November 26th.