Of the applicants vying for the 5th Ward seat on the Eureka City Council, Mayor Frank Jager has decided to endorse Chet Albin.

Jager made his recommendation in a letter Monday in which he said that four out of the five members of a sub-committee tasked at interviewing each of the applicants recommended Albin, a retired insurance broker, over other applicants Leslie Lollich, a public education and outreach officer for the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, and Barry Smith, president of Barry Smith Construction.

Jager said his decision was also influenced after speaking with the current 5th Ward City Councilman Lance Madsen.

”We had a long talk about the situation,” Jager said. “He was really interested in having Chet appointed. I deferred to Lance on that.”

After Madsen announced he was stepping down from the council due to health concerns in October, the council unanimously voted to appoint someone to serve the remainder of his term, which ends in November 2014.

Madsen said he recommended Albin because he has “a lot of experience and exposure” working with the city.

”I'm very excited about being chosen,” Albin said. “I'm looking forward to working with the rest of the council and being a team player. I think we have four council members with a great deal of experience. It's going to be a steep learning curve, but I plan on listening a lot to their experience and being a team player and going in there to see if we can get some good things done for the city.”

Albin, a Eureka resident since 1985 and a lifelong Humboldt County resident, has formerly served as chairman of the Eureka Parking Place Commission, vice chairman of the Eureka Housing Advisory Board and is currently vice chairman on the Eureka Planning Commission.

”He has kept up to date on the city and where it is trying to go,” Madsen said. “I know he has a concern about what happens within the city.”

In his application for the position, Albin said that the most prominent challenges Eureka is facing include hiring a new city manager, and being more effective in addressing crime, the homeless population and illegal drug use.

The council will vote on whom to appoint to the 5th Ward seat at its Dec. 17 meeting.

Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504 or at whouston@times-standard.com. Follow him on Twitter @Will_S_Houston