A past commander of American Legion Post 57 who works in the transportation department of Elgin Area School District U-46 is expected to be the first Hispanic on the Elgin City Council in five years.
Rosamaria "Rose" Martinez was picked to be appointed for a vacant seat during executive session at Wednesday night's meeting, Councilman John Prigge said.
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The seat was vacated when Anna Moeller resigned to take office as state representative for the 43rd District, replacing Keith Farnham, who has been charged with child pornography possession.
Martinez, who retired from working for the U.S. Postal Service in 2013, was picked in a 5-0 vote over fellow candidates Aaron Sellers, Mohammed "Mo" Iqbal and Mitchell Esterino, Prigge said.
Altogether, 21 people applied for the seat, with four selected as finalists.
Mayor David Kaptain and council members Carol Rauschenberger, Tish Powell, Rich Dunne and John Steffen voted in favor. The "no" votes were cast by Prigge and councilmen Toby Shaw and Terry Gavin, who have advocated the seat shouldn't be filled until the April election, Prigge said. Other council members were not immediately available for comment.
"This is all about the five council members (who voted "yes") and not about the citizens," Prigge said.
A formal appointment will take place at the next council meeting on May 28, when Martinez is expected to be sworn in, Prigge said.
Martinez said she was excited to hear the news when reached by phone after the meeting. "I'm looking forward to fulfill that capacity," she said.
Some in Elgin had advocated picking a qualified Latino candidate given that Elgin's population is about 44 percent Latino. Martinez said she will represent all Elgin residents.
"Like I said right from the beginning: I am a female, I am a Latina, I am a veteran -- but first and foremost, I'm an Elginite," she said.
Prigge said he had predicted Martinez's appointment last month.
"I feel so sorry for the other three candidates, because this was a dog-and-pony show," he said.