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Superior council will decide whether to replace mayor

Superior is without a mayor. Despite the city's chief executive officer resigning the post Jan. 3, plows are hitting the roads when it snows, wastewater is being treated and staff is working in the Government Center. Still, the Superior City Coun...

Dave Ross

Superior is without a mayor.

Despite the city's chief executive officer resigning the post Jan. 3, plows are hitting the roads when it snows, wastewater is being treated and staff is working in the Government Center.

Still, the Superior City Council has a decision to make with three months remaining until a new mayor is elected and sworn into office.

The council will consider a replacement for former Mayor Dave Ross on Tuesday night -- if they deem one necessary.

Ross resigned Jan. 3 to take a position in Gov. Scott Walker's cabinet as secretary of the Department of Regulation and Licensing.

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If councilors decide a mayor is necessary, then it's a question of who would serve.

According to a memo issued to the council Jan. 4, if the council decides to appoint an interim mayor, the ordinance that prohibited Ross from serving until an acting mayor could be appointed would apply to any candidate nominated for the three-month position.

Under city ordinance, the mayor -- even a temporary one -- would be required to devote their full time to the discharge of duties as mayor and disallows outside employment for pay.

Barring adoption of an exception under the circumstances, the ordinance would apply, City Attorney Frog Prell opined in the memo.

"One option before the council is to leave the office of the mayor vacant," the memo from Prell and City Clerk Terri Kalan states.

The 90-day opening would save the city almost $33,000 in wages, benefits and Social Security taxes.

If councilors decide a replacement before April's election is in order, they'll have to decide who will serve until voters cast their ballots this spring.

Four candidates are vying for the seat in the upcoming election: former Mayor Bruce Hagen, Superior businessmen Don Raihala and Kevin Peterson and city employee Gil Davidson.

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Raihala and Peterson both said they would rather see the seat remain open or forgo any of the candidates filling the vacancy.

Peterson, who has long advocated on behalf of citizens, said he would not accept the appointment and he would object to the council appointing any of the candidates to the seat before the election.

If the council decides to appoint someone to the vacancy, councilors would make the nomination without public comment according to the process suggested by Prell and Kalan. Nominees would be allowed to address the council and the public could comment on the nominees before a roll call vote of the council is taken.

If more than two nominees are suggested, councilors would narrow the field to two before making the final vote.

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