The City Council appointed Planning Commissioner Mark Murphy Tuesday to fill the council seat vacated earlier this month when William G. Steiner was named to the County Board of Supervisors.
The council voted 3 to 1 to appoint Murphy, 35, a lifelong Orange resident who has served on the Planning Commission since 1990.
“I think Mark Murphy will bring a new generation of leadership to the City Council,” said Councilman Mike Spurgeon. “He’ll bring a fresh perspective.”
Murphy managed Mayor Gene Beyer’s mayoral campaign in 1990 and served six years on the Video Advisory Board, which deals with cable television issues. He works in sales at the Hewlett-Packard Co.
Councilwoman Joanne Coontz was the lone vote against Murphy, calling his appointment “predictable” because he is considered by many in City Hall to be a political ally of Beyer’s.
“We could have avoided the (candidate) interviews,” Coontz said. “We didn’t have to go through the farce.”
The other council members strenuously denied Coontz’s contention that they always intended to appoint Murphy.
“I don’t like to go through charades,” Spurgeon said. “It was a fair process.”
Nine people applied and were interviewed for the council position, after council members decided not to hold a special election, saying they needed to be at full strength as soon as possible to deal with the 1993-1994 budget. Murphy might be sworn into office as early as today to fill the term which ends in November, 1994.
Steiner said he was happy to see Murphy take the job.
“It’s a good appointment. He’s very knowledgeable about city issues and he’s already had a leadership role,” Steiner said.
“There’s no substitute for these kind of qualifications.”