With two members of the Oakdale City Council stating they wanted someone with the same “business sense” as former Councilman Don Petersen, the Oakdale City Council voted 3-1 to appoint local commercial real estate developer Richard Murdoch to the dais for the remaining two years left when Petersen resigned in February.
Prior to the council’s regular meeting on Monday night, four candidates: John Fisher, Stephen Doane, Anjelina Gutierrez, and Murdoch, were interviewed by the council in a special public meeting.
During those interviews, Fisher, a retired US Army sergeant and deputy sheriff, came out as a solid candidate being the only one of the four who had met with city staff leaders and nailing posed questions on enterprise use funds and budget reserves percentages.
“One thing rings true,” said Fisher in his interview, “we live here because we love the city.”
Murdoch, a city resident since 1989, told the council he had a strong business background and, through his business dealings, had history with dealing with key figures in the city.
“I know what it’s like to scratch out a payroll,” Murdoch told the council.
Murdoch, who said he wanted to be part of the council to protect and enhance the quality of life in the city, said he has tried to attract big business to Oakdale through his developments to improve the economy.
During public discussion, Councilman Tom Dunlop, the dissenting vote on the Murdoch appointment, said the council needed someone who did the homework in the city.
“There was a definite difference in experience levels,” Dunlop said. “One of the candidates was up to speed for what is going on.”
Dunlop said he would hold off on his choice upon hearing other council comments.
“One stood out for me,” said Mayor Pat Paul, nominating Murdoch during the council discussion. “He has the knowledge for business and business experience.”
Councilman J.R. McCarty agreed and made the motion to appoint Murdoch. Paul seconded and a vote was taken with Paul, McCarty, and Cherilyn Bairos voting in favor.
“Everyone brought in a different perspective of the city,” Bairos said after the meeting. “Rich Murdoch has not only firm business knowledge, but much knowledge of the city itself.”
Bairos added that Fisher was also a strong candidate in her mind after hearing his presentation and answers to council questions.
“I put my best foot forward,” said Fisher. “You’ll see my name again in two years.”
After the meeting, and prior to being sworn in by City Clerk Kathy Teixeira, Murdoch said he was looking forward to working with the other four leaders and being “a friend” to the police department.
“One thing we’ve got to do is dig out and come up with some reserves,” Murdoch said.