A Lawton pastor will be the new representative for west Lawton’s Ward 6 City Council seat.
Council members spent three hours in executive session Tuesday, interviewing five candidates who applied for the position before voting in open session to designate Bible Baptist Church Pastor Robert Weger as the person who will complete the unexpired term of former Ward 6 Councilman Sean Fortenbaugh. Weger will be sworn into office at the May 9 City Council meeting, Mayor Stan Booker said.
Tuesday’s decision gives Ward 6 a council representative for the first time since Fortenbaugh resigned his post March 27, citing health concerns that he said prevented him from fully representing constituents. Under the terms of the city charter, the council has the authority to select a new representative for a vacant council seat, with that appointee serving until the next possible election. That is what will be done here, said Interim City Attorney Tim Wilson, explaining that Weger will serve until Ward 6 voters select their own representative.
The next possible election date is Sept. 12, and Ward 6 voters actually will made two decisions. They will be voting on a candidate to complete Fortenbaugh’s term, which expires on the second Monday in January (Jan. 8, 2024). But, the terms of Ward 7 Councilwoman Onreka Johnson and Ward 8 Councilman Randy Warren also expire Jan. 8, and all three seats are up for election for a new three-year term. That means Ward 6 voters will decide on the candidate to hold a new three-year term as well as one to complete Fortenbaugh’s unexpired term.
Weger has served as pastor of Bible Baptist Church Lawton for 26 years. He has a bachelor of science degree from Louisiana Tech University and a doctorate in sacred theology from the Institute of Biblical and International Studies. He also was a candidate for Ward 6 City Council in 2014.
“I am excited for this opportunity to serve the Lawton community in an even greater way,” Weger said, in a statement. “I am also looking forward to becoming more familiar with my fellow Lawtonians.”
City officials said Weger’s swearing-in ceremony will be held at the beginning of the May 9 council meeting.