Former City Councilwoman Kay Furniss has returned to the council for the first time in nine years and will be the first woman on the council since 1991.
Wednesday night, the City Council appointed Furniss, who served on the council from 1982 to 1985, to fill the remaining two years of Russell Hillman's council term. Hillman, who was elected to the council in 1991, resigned Monday to become Payson's new mayor.Furniss, 45, lost by 53 votes to Bob Provtsgaard for one of two council posts open in November's municipal elections, which saw Hillman run - and win - unopposed for the mayoral position. Provstgaard and Jim Griffin were elected to replace Pat Van Wagener and M. Ray Hiatt.
Rather than resign after the election, Hillman opted to stay on the council until Jan. 3, allowing the remaining council members to pick his successor.
The four applicants - Furniss, Gary Adams, Don Dixon and Jill Sullivan - had all lost council races (Dixon in 1989 and 1991, and Adams and Sullivan in 1989).
Furniss, who also served as city recorder for two years, originally filed for then-Mayor Richard Harmer's vacancy in August. However, she said she changed her mind when she realized Payson's form of government has a "weak mayor," in which that official only has a vote in case of a tie among the council.
She said she is committed to changing the council back to a legislative body and allowing the mayor and city administrator, as well as other city employees, to do their jobs.
Additionally, Furniss said she wants to get the public and service organizations more involved in city dealings, including economic development, and to help plan for orderly growth.