Sanders was supported by resident Lou Zsido, who later told council Sanders deserves the seat because he campaigned in the last election for City Council. "It would be much easier for you guys to take the top vote-getter and give him that seat. The people of Bethlehem spoke, that's what we have elections for. You guys would be well served to give that seat to Dave Sanders."

Jeremy Sestito, a senior accountant in the international accounting department at PPL Corporation, said he lives in Bethlehem for almost three years.

Sestito's priorities for the city are public safety - "police and fire," continuing the momentum on redevelopment and maintaining a balanced budget.

He said City Council has a well-rounded board "but I think you need an accountant. You need someone with that experience."

Sestito said before making decisions at any council meeting, he'll ask
himself: "What's best for Bethlehem?"

Bruce Smackey is a management consultant and professor emeritus of marketing and manufacturing systems engineering at Lehigh University in Bethlehem.

He said economic development is the top priority of the city.

Smackey said: "In the past five years City Council and the mayor's office have kept total revenue and total expenditures to slightly less than four percent of a compound rate. This is quite an accomplishment given the almost brink of total collapse of the financial markets in 2008."

But he added earned income tax has only grown at 1.5 percent compound rate, which he called troubling because earned income is a barometer of economic development.

Vazquez told council she was born and raised in south Bethlehem, but now lives on the west side of town.

She said she is not afraid to make decisions that are not popular but necessary for the goal of keeping the best interests of people in mind. "Do I have all the answers now? No. But given the opportunity to learn all the different perspectives on each issue, I can assure the residents of Bethlehem that I will provide them with accurate and efficient solutions to address their concerns."

She said Bethlehem needs more financial responsibility and efficiency in city services. She said areas of concern are public safety and code enforcement with landlords.

What happens next

Reynolds said council initially had 16 applicants for the council seat, but three withdrew their names before Monday night's meeting.

The 13th applicant did not show up Monday night, but Reynolds said that does not eliminate him from consideration by council. He is Dr.
Andre Simon, an adjunct professor at DeSales University in Center Valley.

Council will meet again with the candidates at 7 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall.

That meeting will begin with public comment, then council members will ask candidates questions for the first time. Depending on how long that takes, Reynolds said deliberations to select an appointee may at least begin Thursday night.

"It's very unlikely that the majority of us are going to agree on who our first choice could be," predicted Reynolds.

If a decision has not been reached at the conclusion of Thursday night's meeting, council will reconvene Monday for another meeting to select an appointee.

"Hopefully we will be able to come to a conclusion and that person will be able to join us on Tuesday for our regularly scheduled City Council meeting," said Reynolds. But he added it's possible the final decision won't be made until Tuesday night's meeting.

Reynolds indicated council intentionally decided not to ask any questions Monday night, so all the candidates could make their five-minute presentations. He said if questions were taken Monday, the meeting might have gone for "three, four, five hours" and it might have gotten very late before some candidates could even speak.

Reynolds encouraged those who don't get picked to run for a seat on City Council next year.

On Tuesday,both Marlene Burkey and Andre Simon withdrew their names from consideration for council, according to city officials.