PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — The Portage City Council continues to look for clarity and establish its next steps after one of its members who was at the center of a Michigan State Police investigation resigned.

Lisa Brayton last week chose to step down from the city council and withdraw from the race for mayor after state police began investigating perjury allegations over her residency filing.

City council members debated Tuesday whether to accept Brayton’s resignation and whether someone should temporarily fill her empty seat. Councilmember Vic Ledbetter said yes to both.

“This will allow us to close this chapter and move forward and do what’s needed for the citizens,” he said.

“I think accepting the resignation … allows us to refocus, to focus back on representing citizens of Portage,” Councilmember Lori Knapp added. “I don’t see any hardship in appointing somebody for a short time.”

The city council accepted Brayton’s resignation with a 5-1 vote. That started a 60-day countdown mandated by the city’s charter for the council to find someone to fill the seat. The last day to do so is Nov. 4, just three days after the final council meeting prior to the city election on Nov. 7. The tight timeline concerned Councilmember Terry Urban, who was the lone vote against accepting Brayton’s resignation.

“Given the short timing of circumstances and the fact they would serve a very few numbers of meetings — at least one, perhaps two or three depending on how fast we acted — I’m not sure it’s worth someone trying to get up to speed and be effective here,” he explained.

According to the city, three appointments to the council were made within the last 14 years, including Ledbetter, who was eventually elected to his current position.

Members agreed not to consider a candidate running for Brayton’s seat for the temporary appointment.

“I think we all know really dedicated, great people here in the community who’d be willing to step up and serve if they even needed to for a meeting or two,” Councilmember Chris Burns said. “I don’t see that as a big barrier.”

Questions also arose whether the investigation surrounding Brayton’s residency invalidated her votes during her time in office. Since Brayton’s now-former position is an elected office and not an appointed one, Portage city attorney Catherine Kaufman said her votes are still valid, based on precedent from case law dating back more than 100 years.

“They all stand for the idea that if somebody was duly elected, put into a position, sworn in and served, if it was later found out that they were ineligible for some reason … they are a de facto officer and all decisions made during that time were valid and stand,” Kaufman explained.

In a statement to News 8 Thursday, a city of Portage spokesperson said leaders “have yet to officially determine how and when they will appoint (someone) to fill that vacancy.” The spokesperson did not have a list of potential candidates.

Correction: A previous version of this article gave the incorrect last name for Portage City Attorney Catherine Kaufman. We regret this error which has been corrected.