The Sahuarita Town Council narrowed a list of applicants for two open seats to six after an hour-long, closed-door meeting Monday night.
Twenty-four people applied for the seats left open after council members Dalia Zimmerman and Lynne Skelton resigned; one applicant dropped out before Monday's meeting.
The six finalists are Sergio Arellano, Kathleen Camp, Erik Dahl, Simon Davis, Myra McCune and Marty Moreno. They will be interviewed by the council in another special meeting at Town Hall on Aug. 19, open to the public.
The applicants who are appointed will serve until the 2020 election cycle, when they will have to run to retain their seats.
During the executive session, council members discussed all but four candidates who requested their applications be discussed in public – Marty Moreno, Lora Nastase, Ryan Huber and Deborah Morales.
Council member Gil Lusk said 23 applicants was unexpected, and the high number — he said three or four was typical — was a sign of progress.
"I want to assure you that our list of applicants is very well qualified and is highly professional and it is not going to be an easy job to narrow this down from 23 to two, but that is what we're going to be doing," Lusk said before the decisions were made.
The first six candidates were approved unanimously and the final applicant, Allen, was rejected, 3-2. No nominations were made after Allen and a motion to end the meeting followed.
"We're just honored and blessed we have 23 qualified candidates," Mayor Tom Murphy said after the council returned from executive session. "I was thinking about it, we could literally build three Town Councils. Obviously, we have to whittle it down to the interview process and then we have to whittle it down even further to the selection of two people."
Murphy told the audience the interviews will take place in the council's hall Aug. 19, and expects a decision to be made that evening followed by a motion for the selected two applicants to fill the vacancies.
Egbert said that while everyone wasn't selected for an interview they should still consider running for office when the 2020 election cycle begins. Egbert encouraged them to run because the town doesn't have a lot of people who run for elected offices, she said.
Five of the seven council seats will be up for re-election in 2020.