48 in line for Bergson seat
The most sought-after item this holiday season may be the at-large seat on the City Council soon to be vacated by mayor-elect Herb Bergson. With Bergson replacing Mayor Gary Doty, the remaining term of his seat will be left open. Selection of a r...
The most sought-after item this holiday season may be the at-large seat on the City Council soon to be vacated by mayor-elect Herb Bergson.
With Bergson replacing Mayor Gary Doty, the remaining term of his seat will be left open. Selection of a replacement for Bergson is up to the council. The process will include current members Neill Atkins, Greg Gilbert, Donny Ness, Jim Stauber, Russ Stewart and Russell Stover, and incoming councilors Laurie Johnson and Tim Little.
Bergson, along with Ken Hogg and Rob Stenberg, whose terms expire in January, will not be participating.
Duluth faced a similar situation four years ago, when 4th District Councilor Dale Swapinski left for the Legislature. The council used an interview and ballot process, then selected Gary Eckenberg to fill out the term.
The council began discussing the selection process two weeks ago, and several councilors said they were expecting a lot of applicants -- 20 to 40 -- since the vacancy is a city-wide position. It even considered, and dismissed due to cost, holding an advisory referendum.
By the application deadline Monday afternoon, 50 people had filed to be considered for the position, and two later dropped out.
Thursday, the council outlined the selection process. Each councilor involved will submit 10 favorites. Candidates who get at least three nods will be interviewed next Thursday. Councilors will rank the top six who will advance to the second round Jan. 8. The council will then vote for a finalist.
Throughout the process no one will be eliminated and can be brought back in by a majority vote.
The entire process will be public including individual ballots.
"Any action the council takes has to be done in public," cautioned City Attorney Bryan Brown. "Secret ballots are simply not allowed ... the public has to be able to see the decision of each councilor."
The candidate list includes many well-know Duluthians who have either served on other boards or run for council, school board or county board in the past.
City attorney Bryan Brown said the council cannot make its decision until the vacancy occurs. Bergson said he will serve on the council until being sworn in as mayor next month.
While the process will be public, a coalition of organizations has worked to get out information on the candidates. Wednesday, about a dozen social justice, labor and environmental groups held a "citizens candidate interview." About 35 candidates participated.
Council hopefuls were also surveyed on city issues such as housing, business assistance, card check neutrality and the comprehensive plan.
The following residents have applied for Bergson's seat: Jeffrey (Jeff) Anderson, Kenneth J. Aparicio, Mary L. Azmitia, Henry L. Banks, Gareth Bates, Timothy A. Bearheart, Alison Jean Clarke, Ronald D. DeGrio, Anna Dilley, Joan L. Erickson, Michael R. Fechner, Todd Fedora, Dick Florey, Rennette Grace, Tom Gregorich, John Heino, Rodney William Hendrickson, Christopher Hussey, Arno S. Kahn, Garry Krause, Brent Loberg, Peggy Marrin, William (Will) J. Mattson, Kimberly (Kim) McKay, Kenneth D. McNulty, Erick P. Nelson, Nancy S. Nelson, Nancy Nilsen, Peter Olson, Michael Vincent Pitoscia, William Portilla, James (Jim) R. Pratt, Heather Rand, Roger J. Reinert, Russ Salgy, Tony Salls, Guy E. Sederski, Kimberly Donel Snell, Gertrude (Nan) N. Stokes, Steve Townsend, Terry A. Trogdon, Eric S. Viken, Chad R. Westberg, Allan N. Winters Jr., David E. Wright, Tom H. Wright, James (Jim) A. Wrobleski and Ron Yardley.