...I can't say "the fix was in" (at this point in time, I don't have any evidence that tonight's events were other than above-board and honest) but her public comment before the selection process even took place sounded a lot like a victory speech.
Plus, when her name was not drawn out of the hat by City Clerk Carolyn Jagger (eliminating the candidate whose name was drawn), absolutely no one looked surprised.
It was clear from the outset that the favored candidate among the various residents of who turned out for the meeting was Marg Nelssen - ten people, including Nelssen herself, spoke in support of appointing Nelssen to the Council; none spoke in support of another candidate.
The main argument in favor of Nelssen's appointment seemed to be (I'm paraphrasing here) "Marg is Tony's wife, so she deserves it. Anything else would be disrespectful to the people who voted him into office in the first place."
Certain speakers spent some of their time and rhetoric excoriating three members of the Council (Ecton, Klapp, and McCullagh) for "playing politics." One speaker accused them of "selling their souls."
Of course, all of the speakers ignored the fact that the whole "appoint Marg" theme was a shameless political ploy by the Lane clique to regain a fourth vote, and a majority, on the Council.
In addition to that, Mayor Jim Lane not only expressed his support for Nelssen (something that he has a right to do), he ran the meeting in a way to encourage public pressure on the three Council members who opposed his moved to shoehorn Marg Nelssen onto the Council last week. The normal practice is to ask visitors to not applaud and to gavel it down whenever applause erupts. Tonight, applause was allowed to go on unchecked.
During the meaty part of the proceedings, four people were nominated to fill the vacancy -
Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky nominated Jay Petkunas, a member of the Planning Commission in Scottsdale
Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp nominated Jim Bruner, a former member of the Council and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
Councilman Wayne Ecton also nominated Bruner
Councilman Bob Littlefield nominated Marg Nelssen
Councilman Ron McCullagh passed, with most observers figuring that he was on board with the Bruner nomination. He was, as votes later in the meeting proved.
Mayor Jim Lane expressed his support for the nomination of Nelssen. However, to maintain the illusion (an illusion that no one in the audience bought into, by the way) that the nomination process wasn't going to end in a 3 - 3 tie with the names of the finalist put into a hat, he nominated one Richard Acton (possible incorrect name and/or spelling there).
After a brief round of votes, the choices came down to Nelssen and Bruner, who each received three votes. Littlefield, Lane, and Borowsky supported Nelssen; Klapp, Ecton, and McCullagh supported Bruner.
However, four votes were needed to win the seat.
As such, the two remaining names were placed in a hat, with the name drawn from the hat being the candidate eliminated from consideration. When that name was announced as Jim Bruner's, the most of those assembled burst out in raucous cheers.
Nelssen will be sworn into office next week.
Nelssen may ultimately turn out to be a fine member of the Council, but I have to ask one question to the "give it to Marg! Tony's wife *should* take his place!" crowd" -
If Bill Clinton had died in office, how many of you would have argued "give it to Hillary! Bill's wife *should* take his place!"?