Nearly 20 years ago to the day, the Grand Island Town Board faced an impasse on whom to appoint to a vacant council seat similar to the one experienced Monday night.
When the council failed to appoint someone to fill Mary Cooke's seat on the board during Monday's reorganization meeting, it was reminiscent of a similar circumstance on Jan. 6, 1992, when the board deadlocked 2-2 on appointing a council member to replace Councilman James Pax.
Like Cooke, Pax was a council member who ran and won the supervisor's office. Pax's ascension to supervisor in the November 1991 election led to a vacant seat. In the first meeting of the year, the four-member board of Republicans Pax and Jim Sharpe and Democrats Marion Fabiano and Gail Lazenby deadlocked 2-2 on seven separate votes to fill the seat, each time voting along party lines. Pax and Sharpe moved to appoint Republicans Robert Swan, Cooke and LaVerne Luther. Fabiano and Lazenby moved to appoint Democrats Paul Klock, John Kennell, Thomas Butler and Lynn Daniels.
The board dropped the matter and went the entire year with four members. The issue wasn't decided until November 1992, when Klock beat Cooke in the general election for a one-year term. The next year, Sharpe and Cooke were elected, defeating Klock and Peter McKee in a four-way race for two seats.