A new member was appointed Tuesday to the St. Anthony City Council, but it wasn't the person some had hoped to see filling the vacancy.
The council named Wendy Webster, community services director for the St. Anthony-New Brighton School District, to serve the final two years of the term of former Council Member Randy Stille.
Stille was elected mayor in November, defeating attorney Nancy Robinett. And it was Robinett who the council should have appointed to fill Stille's seat, according to Joe Lofgren, a development specialist for North Memorial Health Foundation who also had applied for appointment to the seat before dropping out.
Robinett captured 43% of the vote in her recent loss to Stille and came within a hair's breadth of election to the City Council in 2017.
"Over 1,000 residents in this city wanted [Robinett] as our representative," Lofgren told the council, referring to the 1,158 votes Robinett won in the mayoral race.
"I'm always frustrated when positions are appointed rather than elected because it's a representative position," resident Maret Olson said.
Robinett "has been very active," Olson said. "She's sought the votes and she has a significant constituency in the city."
Robinett, a founding member of the grassroots group St. Anthony Villagers for Community Action, became active in the community in the wake of the 2016 fatal shooting of Philando Castile by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez. She was critical of the council's out-of-town retreat that violated state law and its decision to close Lowry Grove mobile home park.
Stille signed off on the closure and redevelopment of the mobile home park and previously said that "the developer has every right to do what he is doing."
Robinett said Tuesday that she hadn't expected to be appointed but had put her name in for the vacancy because she felt she owed it to those who voted for her in November. She said it was too early to tell whether she would consider running again.
"I did feel that it was really important for me to apply for the vacancy because I worked really hard on the campaign," Robinett said. "A lot of people who live in [St. Anthony] village cared about my campaign, cared about the issues and perspectives that I had, and I thought that it was important that I file for the appointment. It was a way of respecting the voters."
The other candidates for the council appointment were Dave Colling, executive director of the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, and attorney Dan Payne.
Stille officially took over as mayor on Jan. 6 after serving on the City Council the past 16 years.
Also sworn in at Tuesday's meeting were Council Members Thomas Randle and Bernard Walker, who were both elected to four-year terms. Walker was the only council member to vote against Webster's appointment Tuesday.
Randle was appointed to a vacancy on the board in 2017 and was the top vote-getter in the November election. He's the first person of color to serve on the council, according to City Manager Mark Casey.