World traveler promises to work his schedule to meet the needs of his city dutiesGEARHART - Longtime Gearhart resident John Pincetich is the city's newest councilor.

Pincetich was appointed by the City Council at a special meeting Thursday. He will fill a one-year vacancy created when Geri Gideon resigned at the September meeting.

Retired probate investigator Carol Carney, former council candidate Larry Meyers and retired nightclub owner Scott Merkley had applied for the position. The council interviewed the four applicants at a work session before the meeting. A fifth applicant, contractor Bob Shortman, did not attend the interviews, but submitted a letter to the council.

After the interviews, the council convened a special meeting and each councilor wrote their choice on a piece of paper which Smith read aloud. Councilors Dianne Widdop and Chuck Schluter and the mayor chose Pincetich. Councilor Ed Tice chose Merkley. There was no discussion, however, and the council unanimously approved a motion to appoint Pincetich.

"I commend the courage these people had to come in and sit under the spotlight," Smith said. "We had five good people and we had to choose one."

Pincetich served the city as councilor from 1990 to 1994 and has been a Gearhart resident for 22 years. He was a member of the planning commission and has appeared frequently before the council. During the interview, Pincetich answered questions from the council on vision, issues and why he was applying.

"Well, when Sir Edmund Hillary was asked why he climbed Mount Everest, he said 'because it was there,'" he said. "This is an open seat that is just 'there.' And, instead of having to run a campaign and having to get the approval of 200 people, I only have to convince three people. That's a majority."

Pincetich also said that he will bring a "desired element of diversity" to the council.

Smith expressed concern about Pincetich's frequent world travels, but the new councilor assured him that he would juggle his schedule around council duties.

Pincetich identified three main issues that faced Gearhart: the proposed U.S. Highway 101 widening project, city growth and development of a water system. Pincetich has had experience in helping communities develop a water program. While working for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), he directed the Imo State Rural Drinking Water and Sanitation Project in Imo state, Nigeria.

Pincetich will be sworn in prior to the Nov. 5 council meeting.

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