The Whitewater City Council on Tuesday unanimously appointed a UW-Whitewater freshman to fill a vacant city council seat.
McKinley Palmer was the only applicant to fill the District 5 seat that used to belong to Stephanie (Goettl) Vander Pas.
Palmer said he will run in the spring election to keep the seat for a two-year term.
“I want this town to be the best it can be,” he said.
Palmer, who said he was a farm kid from about an hour away in Barneveld, became the next UW-W undergraduate on the council, joining Jimmy Schulgit, a senior.
Schulgit said Palmer being a freshman is an asset because there can be less turnover than if he ran for the seat when he was closer to his degree.
Palmer said Schulgit is a friend he met through the Delta Chi fraternity. Palmer is studying business management and is planning to go into healthcare management. He hopes to own a hospital one day.
The new council member said he loved Whitewater, and he would work to keep it as clean, safe and peaceful as it already is.
“I love the feeling of being in Whitewater,” he said. “It kind of reminds me of my own hometown.”
He said he would like to work toward bringing a local grocery store to the city.
Palmer in his application listed some of his community service as volunteering for Second Harvest, Habitat for Humanity and other groups.
His father also went to UW-W in the 1970s, Palmer said.
Because he was a freshman this fall, he said, he did not know many of the details surrounding the scandal involving Chancellor Beverly Kopper’s husband, Alan “Pete” Hill, who was banned from campus in June, according to a decision announced in September.
Kopper announced her resignation Monday but is planning to return as a professor in the department of psychology after eight months on paid leave.
Palmer said he hopes the whole situation will be a “wake-up call” for people to not abuse their power.
It would be important for the next chancellor to come from UW-W or a university like it because they can keep the school on the path it’s on now, he said.
Palmer was sworn in and joined other council members for the meeting Monday.