Special election or appointment for Kinard’s supervisor’s seat

Nick Johansen

The Red Oak Express

A special committee has begun the process of filling the void left by the recent passing of Montgomery County District One Supervisor Rudy Kinard.

Committee members Montgomery County Auditor Stephanie Burke, Montgomery County Recorder Carleen Bruning and Montgomery County Treasurer Tera Hughes met Sept. 23 to discuss the first steps in finding Kinard’s replacement on the board. During the first meeting, Burke was named chair of the committee and Hughes, secretary.

Burke explained the vacancy could be filled either by appointment through the committee, or by special election, with the appointment to be made within 40 days, or a special election at the earliest practical date.

“If an appointment is made by the committee, citizens may still petition for a special election within 14 days of the appointment, or notice of the appointment, whichever is later. The petition would require 80 signatures,” Burke said.

The appointment, if made, could take place no later than Oct. 22, if a special election is held, the earliest date it could be held was Dec. 8, due to blackout dates surrounding the Nov. 3 general election.

“Rudy Kinard was elected in 2018, so the vacancy is for the term ending November, 2022. The seat would be up for election again in the 2022 election cycle,” Burke explained.

Cost of a special election is $1,500 to $2,000, and an appointment would cost the county $75. In the case of a special election with partisan candidates, delegates to the party’s county convention (Democrat and Republican) who represent District 1, who shall be convened as appropriate by the county party chairperson. Candidates would file a convention certificate and affidavit of candidacy.

In the case of a non-partisan candidate, candidates would file a nomination petition with 15 signatures from eligible electors in District 1. Candidate filing would begin as soon as the county auditor received notice of the special election, and the candidate filing deadline would be Nov. 13 at 5 p.m., with the filing clerk being the county auditor.

Candidates seeking to be appointed to the position were requested to submit the following for consideration:

• Letter of Interest

• Resume

• References – optional

The above must be sent to Carleen Bruning, Recorder, 105 E Coolbaugh, P.O. Box 469, Red Oak, IA 51566. Applications must be received by Oct. 13 at 4:30 p.m. They can be mailed, hand-delivered or put in the drop box outside the courthouse. All applicants must have resided in Montgomery County Supervisor District 1 for at least 60 days.

Margaret Stoldorf addressed the committee, and felt that despite the cost involved, a special election was her preference.

“This person will serve for over two years, which is half of a term. I think the public needs to have a voice here. This is for a very long time,” said Stoldorf.

Larry Brandstetter was in agreement with Stoldorf, that two years was a long time, but said he could support an appointment.

“Doing an appointment certainly allows the voters to take a look at the appointee who would be running in the 2022 election, and determine at that time if they want to continue having that person represent them and the district, or put in a different candidate on the ballot two years from now. I can’t disagree with Margaret, but I wanted to point out there are advantages on either side,” said Brandstetter.

Burke also agreed two years was a long period of time, but felt comfortable that the committee could make an appointment. She also speculated about the potential turn-out for a special election.

“Will we have a good turn-out after the general election and a holiday? I’m not sure, it’s just a thought. If I had to choose between both options, I would lean towards an appointment, due to the timing and the cost,” commented Burke.

Hughes was supportive of the appointment process as well, and said the public would have the option to make a change.

“They would have 14 days after the appointment or appointment notice, so if the voters didn’t like who we appointed, they could petition and we could do a special election then,. I understand giving the public their voice, and I also understand that we’ve been put in these positions. We can conduct thorough interviews and make a decision, and the public still has its opportunity to petition for a special election,” said Hughes.

Bruning said she saw both sides to the argument, and was in the same situation in 2016, but the term was shorter, which gave her a different opinion.

“Two years is half of a term, so I think it’s important to take that into consideration, and I’m leaning towards a special election. If we decide on a special election, to me, it’s money well spent. However, I think we would also do a good job of interviewing, and selecting a qualified appointee,”

Hughes asked if none of the applicants for an appointment were a good fit, if the committee had the option to decline all the applicants. Burke said if the appointment process was put into play, the committee would have to select one of the appointees. Also, the special election could be petitioned with 80 signatures from all the districts in the county, not just District One. However, voters in District One would be the only ones eligible to vote in the election.

The committee voted to move forward with filling the vacancy by appointment.

The committee will convene at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 20 in the courtroom at the Montgomery County Courthouse for a public meeting. Qualified applicants are expected to attend. The Supervisor Appointing Committee will conduct a panel interview of all persons seeking appointment to fill Supervisor District One. The committee will randomly draw the order for responding to the question.

The committee will reconvene at 1 p.m. on Oct. 21 in the basement meeting room at the courthouse to decide on the appointment. A new member of the Board of Supervisors will be sworn in on the next regular scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting.

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

Comment Here