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The selection committee for the Ward 2 seat on Wednesday will interview five candidates for the position, none of whom ran for the seat in the February election.

Jay Wendorff and John Argo, two of the candidates in February’s race, were not selected for interviews.

Wendorff received 42.74% of the vote against Matt McGarry’s 51.32% and John Argo’s 5.24% in the February election for the seat. McGarry resigned in March to take a teaching position with an Ivy League university, The Transcript reported.

Aleisha Karjala, chair of the Ward 2 selection committee, said all she can share “is that the committee chose the best five from the applicant pool to interview.”

When asked if the vote tallies in the last election were a factor considered by the committee, Karjala said the selection is “not an election. This is an appointment committee.”

Karjala could not say which five had been chosen, but confirmed that Argo was also not among them.

Wendorff said he received an email from the committee saying he was not selected as one of the five applicants — out of 10 total — who would be interviewed.

“I found that kind of puzzling,” Wendorff said. “I didn’t know that I expected them to pick me, but I also felt that it would be a bad PR move for them not to pick me.”

Wendorff was endorsed by the local Fraternal Order of Police and Unite Norman, a group that formed to recall several councilors and Clark last year.

“If someone said they’re only going to interview five people, I would have said, ‘well there’s no way I’m not going to be interviewed,’” Wendorff said.

FOP President Robert Wasoski said he was surprised by the news.

“You have a possible candidate to fill what’s going to be a vacant seat, who got the second-most votes in a recent election, and you’re choosing to ignore them completely as a candidate? That speaks volumes about how much the committee values the people’s voice,” Wasoski said.

The interview process is intended to be complete in one day to ensure no applicants are aware of the questions before their respective interviews, Karjala said.

City spokeswoman Annahlyse Meyer said applicants will be interviewed starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

The council has until May 18 to appoint an interim, or it will be forced to call a special election in September or November. The regularly-scheduled election for even-numbered ward seats is next February.

Mindy Wood covers City Hall news and notable court cases for The Transcript. Reach her at mwood@normantranscript.com or 405-416-4420.

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