ARLINGTON — When Don Vanney retired last year and ran for mayor, the lifelong resident insisted he wanted to give back to his community one way or another.
The one way — as mayor — didn’t pan out after he lost by a slim margin last November, but on Feb. 19 the City Council chose him from a field of seven interviewed at a special meeting to fill an open seat on the seven-member council.
Vanney said he is looking forward to being a voice for the citizens.
“I’m excited to be part of the team and make some good decisions hopefully for the city, with the help of everybody else,” Vanney said after the vote.
The council only needed one round of voting to select Vanney. The vote was 5-1, with Councilmember Jan Schuette opposed.
The city drew nine applicants vying for the vacant seat, ranging from millenials to boomers, with varying levels of community involvement. Tracy Cuajao, Robert Cosgrove, Avery Hufford, Heather Logan, Holly Sloan-Buchanan, Mark Tingley and Vanney were interviewed by the council, while two others, Brad Sibley and Gary William Bernard, withdrew from consideration.
Vanney was born and raised in Arlington. He retired last year after more than 30 years from his purchasing agent/manager job with Senior Aerospace-AMT. He attended council meetings regularly to keep up on many issues.
He said his key concerns are addressing growth and taking care of infrastructure and other future needs. He commended Arlington for its “Game of Homes” planning exercises as a way to gain buy-in from the community on where housing should be situated, and the types of dwellings, in a market with limited land.
“I want to make my hometown a place the community is proud to show off to those who visit, and help guide future growth and prosperity,” Vanney said.
He added that he is passionate about supporting the disabled and meeting their needs. He has worked with Special Olympics for over 40 years.
The council seat became vacant Jan. 11 when Joshua Roundy stepped down for personal reasons.
Vanney will fill Roundy’s remaining term, which expires in December 2022. He will need to run for office to retain it.
Vanney will be sworn in at Monday’s City Council meeting.
This story originally appeared in the Arlington Times.