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BE could see special election

By Staff | Oct 5, 2009

An anticipated resignation by one of Blue Earth’s city council members has the city attorney researching state election law.

Councilman Rick Scholtes, who represents Ward 3, has purchased a home in Blue Earth outside of the ward he represents.

When he moves his residence, Scholtes will have to resign his council seat.

Scholtes confirmed the home purchase, but said he has not set a date for moving out of Ward 3.

“My best guess would be more towards the end of the year,” Scholtes says. “I plan to continue serving on the council until I actually move, and then I will resign.”

City Administrator Kathy Bailey says she has been aware of Scholtes’ proposed move, and has City Attorney David Frundt researching the state law pertaining to special elections.

Scholtes was originally appointed to fill out a term on the council two years ago. Last November he was elected to his first full four-year term on the council, defeating challengers Gary Meyers and Paula Kelly.

“Since Councilman Scholtes has served less than a year of his four-year term, the council cannot appoint a replacement – a special election has to be held,” Bailey explains. Only if a councilman has served over two years of his or her term can the council appoint the replacement.

The research being conducted by the city attorney involves finding out how long a filing period needs to be, how soon after candidates file that an election can be held, and whether the city can wait until the next general election date.

“There are a lot of things to consider when holding a special election – especially following the proper timelines,” Bailey says. “We want to be prepared for when it (the resignation) happens.”

Bailey says some of the expenses involved in holding an election involve publishing notices, hiring election judges, and printing ballots.

“Special elections are something we don’t plan for, but are necessary according to state law,” she says.