Morse finally OK'd to join Knoxville City Council

Photo by Ethan GoetzMayor Brian Hatch swears in new City Council Member Dylan Morse as Council Member Rick Kingery looks on.

— Editor’s Note: In the Aug. 17 issue of the Journal-Express, the article about Dylan Morse being appointed to the Knoxville City Council contained incorrect information. Morse was not approved to join the council at that time; he had been recommended as the leading candidate. The Journal-Express apologizes for the error.

KNOXVILLE — The Knoxville City Council appointed Dylan Morse to fill a vacant council seat during a special meeting Wednesday, Aug. 23. The 3-to-1 vote to add Morse to the council came two days after a vote to approve Morse’s nomination fell short of state rules regarding such appointments.

“I’m thankful that Dylan stepped up to fill this vacancy,” said Knoxville Mayor Brian Hatch. “I’m excited to be working with him and think he’ll be a great asset to the council.”

Morse was expected to be appointed and sworn in Monday, Aug. 21, however a procedural glitch prevented him from being approved at that meeting. Three members of the City Council had interviewed candidates on Aug. 14 and agreed to nominate Morse for approval Monday.

However, City Council Member James Lane was absent and unable to participate by phone. The 2-1 on Aug. 21 was one vote shy of the three votes required by state law, creating a time crunch for the city.

State laws also require that the appointment be made within 60 days of a resignation. Council Member Craig Kelley resigned July 7, citing health concerns — the second resignation from the City Council since April.

The City Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Sept. 5, a day before the 60-day limit would have expired. City Manager Aaron Adams explained that if Morse was not approved by then, the city could have been forced to hold a special election that would cost taxpayers nearly $6,000 and take place shortly before the regular election on Nov. 7.

On Wednesday, as on Monday, Council Member Rick Kingery cast the dissenting vote opposing adding Morse to the City Council.

Morse 30, a Knoxville native, is an assistant vice president at Iowa State Savings Bank. He led the effort to restore and re-open Knoxville’s Grand Theater in 2015. Morse also is a member of Thrive Knoxville, which he describes as a partnership to promote positive events and efforts actions that will help Knoxville grow.

“I want to serve in any way I can,” Morse said. “I’ve been involved around periphery in the community in non-profit efforts. You get to talk to people and I’ve learned a lot from that. So I’ll bring those concerns and that knowledge to this role.”

Morse also said he hopes to bring new perspective, ask different questions and bring new ideas to City Council business and discussions.

“We’re in a positive position as a city. A lot of great opportunities lie ahead of us,” Morse said. “I want to help shape those conversations and bring things forward as best I can.”

Morse fills the seat left vacant in July when Kelley resigned from the council. The seat will be open to election Nov. 7. Morse said he will be a candidate to continue on the City Council.

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